Thursday, 5 July 2018

Delta Green: Convergence Session 1: The Spivey Case

Dr. Agent David Trentmen - FBI Agent and former Medical Doctor
A family doctor until his father died in suspicious circumstances.  When the police failed to come up with anything more concrete, he decided to change careers and became an FBI field agent operating out of Virginia.  For several years, he was partnered with Agent Yung, who was secretly a member of the program, until he, too, was recruited.

Juan Estevez - DEA Agent and former Undercover Cop
After several years as an undercover agent planted in a gang in San Antonio to catch a cartel higher-up known as "El Tiburon", Juan opted for the "more stable" life of a DEA field agent, got married, and had a kid.  During a raid on a cartel warehouse, he uncovered a group of cultists performing a human sacrifice using a crystal dagger, and burned the place down by faking a meth lab explosion.

Juan thought he had covered his tracks, but somehow, someone had noticed what he had done.  Instead of being arrested, however, they offered him a place in their organisation, which he foolishly accepted.

Victor Blue - FBI Intelligence Analyst and Hacker
A hacker who never moved out of his mom's house in San Francisco (totally only for financial reasons, the market's crazy), Victor is an aficionado in UFOs, new age magic, and all kinds of other internet conspiracies.  One day, he stumbled onto the "Turkey Organization", a cult that seemed to be actually kidnapping people, and called out to his older brother, Charlie, for help.

The cult turned out to have kidnapped a dozen people, and had conjured some sort of otherworldly avian monster.  Charlie was able to destroy the monster, and the cultists were arrested for their crimes.  "Luckily", the cult had scraped out their captives' eyes and tongues, so nobody other than Charlie or the cultists had seen the turkey monster.  Charlie was recruited to the program first, and Victor soon followed, after receiving his brother's recommendation.

07/08/18 Cover

Victor found a sealed letter on his desk towards the end of the day, and found that it was an invitation to a "birthday party" in Knoxville at the FBI field office at 8AM the next day.  The card told him to bring "lots of presents", so he picked up a stuffed bear on the way to the airport after saying goodbye to his mom and typing off a bogus e-mail about his "grandmother's funeral" to his boss.

David got a call from Agent Yung, who asked him to attend a retirement party in his stead for "Bob" at the FBI field office in Knoxville, Tennessee, the next morning at 8AM sharp.  He left a message for his boss that relayed the exact same story, and headed on his way.

Juan's boss came into his office late in the afternoon and informed him that he'd been assigned to a task force working out of Knoxville under somebody called Delilah Gordon, who had apparently worked with him before and had pulled a lot of strings to get him transferred.  The Administration had already booked him a flight leaving that night, and, after a quick goodbye to his wife and son, he was on his way to Tennessee.

08/08/18 Briefing

Everybody arrived at the field office bright and early; David very specifically rented a Mazda 5 at the airport.  After some slight issues when David wanted to bring in a set of lockpicks and some surgical equipment, were all, on their own, told by the receptionist to wait after giving their cover stories.  After 20 or so minutes of awkward small talk, a balding agent in his mid-50s arrived and asked them to follow him.

They wound their way through the office to a briefing room, where the balding man introduced himself as James Derringer, special agent in charge of the field office.  A projector flicked on and a video started to play on the screen on the wall, which Derringer said was from a gas station in Alabama 2 days earlier.  In the video, a young man approached the cashier and asked some sort of question with a pained look on his face, to which the cashier did not respond.

The young man then moved forward and struck the cashier in the side of the head with one hand.  Astonishingly, this caved in the cashier's skull and fully decapitated him, the body trembling for a moment before collapsing.  The young man ran around the counter, opened the register, took all the bills inside, and then ran off-camera.  A moment later, he returned, and grabbed a handful of pill bottles and the rifle under the counter, before leaving again, when the video ended.

Everybody was somewhat perturbed by the grisly scene, Derringer obviously more so than the party.  He explained that the man in the video had also held up 5 more gas stations and drug stores in the past week in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia with the rifle he stole here, though nobody else was harmed.  The FBI, in conjunction with state troopers, were able to catch him at a roadblock, though he bent a gun in half and it took 4 rounds from a shotgun to put him down.  He was still alive, though sedated.

His name was Billy-Rae Spivey, according to the ID in his wallet, a 17 y.o. from Waynesboro, TN.  Spivey was still living at home with his parents, Rich and Angel; Angel had already been interviewed.  He vanished on July 31st around 2100 and didn't reappear until August 2nd at 2030; the video they had just seen was from August 6th.  When he returned, Billy was ill and in great pain.  Local doctors were unable to find anything wrong with him, though he had been eating far more than usual and had not urinated or defecated during the time he was monitored.

On the 4th, Billy started seizing in his room, and his father, Rich, attempted to restrain him.  This ended with Billy punching a hole through Rich's chest with his fist, killing him almost instantly, after which Billy fled town in his truck.  There were no drugs found in his system.  Shortly after the FBI had captured Billy, somebody else came in claiming this was their jurisdiction and left a sealed, top-secret letter for the agents, which Derringer passed over the table.

A green triangle marked the letter as an official Delta Green medical report, performed with Billy sedated.  It explained that Billy's leg and arm muscles had been replaced with some strange tissue that closely resembled normal muscle; this seemed to be the cause of his enhanced strength.  His bone structure was unmodified, however, so he would be unable to lift or throw much more than normal.  He also had extensive surgical scars, closed with a similar tissue, which healed so rapidly and completely that they were only noticed after the surgeon closed up his incisions and they disappeared.

Once they finished reading the report, Derringer explained that the cover they were going with was that Billy-Rae had been on some variant of bath salts, and confirmed that the pill bottles they had found in his car were all opiod painkillers.  After that, he took them to Billy, who was in custody in an interrogation room in the basement of the field office.

Interrogation

Several agents with shotguns were standing guard outside of the interrogation room was holding 3 additional agents and an obviously-sedated Billy-Rae, who was handcuffed duct-taped to a chair that was bolted to the floor.  David and Victor both went to the two-way mirror to observe while Juan went in to try to learn something.

Unfortunately, Billy was in such extreme pain at the moment that he was unable to make any coherent sense; the only things he got out were "they... they did something to me" and "I was going to meet Jane".  One of the guards, when asked, related that he seemed to go in and out of lucidity for a few minutes every 20-30 minutes.  David figured that he was probably undergoing phantom limb syndrome, as his muscles had been changed but not the nerves.

Juan decided to hang around and try to comfort Billy to get him on their side, while Victor went to the evidence locker and took a look through Billy's phone.  After a quick bit of cracking with his laptop, the phone was unlocked, and they found that he hadn't used it for those 2 days; no messages sent or pictures taken.  The GPS app history showed that he had made it about halfway to his girlfriend Jane's house, and then reappeared just shy of two days later.

Victor cloned the phone, and then headed back to the interrogation room, where Billy had finally regained lucidity, at least for a moment.  Through moans of agony, he confirmed what they already knew: he was driving to his girlfriend Jane's house, then "nothing", then he was back and really sick.  When he got to the part about punching through his dad, Billy begged to be killed.  Juan tried to calm him down, but failed.  One of the guards stuck Billy with a syringe and knocked him out, so Juan left the interrogation chamber.

The party discussed their next course of action, and decided to head to Waynesboro to interview Billy's mother and girlfriend.  Derringer offered them an unmarked, armoured agency SUV and some weapons (both lethal and non-lethal), and called ahead to let the local police know that they were on the way and investigating under the cover of Billy being on bath salts.  Juan was elected to drive, set the radio to loud country music, and sped off.

Waynesboro

4 hours later, the party pulled off of the interstate into Waynesboro, a stereotypical small American town, and quickly found the police station.  Inside, they met the portly, middle-aged Sheriff Dan and his very excited Deputy, inconveniently named Billy.  They asked Dan a few questions about Billy's (the other one) mother, Angel, before they headed to her place to question her, and he offered to come along to offer a friendly face.

At Angel's place, her sister, Amy, came out to meet Dan when he knocked on the door.  She seemed friendly enough at first, and asked if the agents reaaaally needed to talk to Angel.  In a brief huddle, the agents (mostly Juan) talked themselves out of questioning her, figuring she had already been interviewed twice, and decided to spare her some more stress, which upset Amy a bit (though she remained friendly with the Sheriff).

David asked if they could get a copy of the coroner's report for Rich, Billy's dad, and they all headed back to the police station to grab it; there was nothing strange, just some prescription meds and a small amount of alcohol.  The punch went through a lung and his spine, and that did indeed cause death.

Juan asked after anybody else who might have disappeared or experienced missing time, which sent Dan on a brief rant about out-of-town conspiracy theorists and ufo guys making a fuss, but he didn't keep track of them.  Dan then gave them some advice to stay at the Hurricane Inn nearby if they needed a place, and the party went to check out the place where Billy's GPS said he had disappeared to do some sleuthing.

David and Juan got out and checked around, but didn't find anything.  Juan questioned a man whose house nearby would have had line of sight, but he claimed to have not seen anything strange recently.  While they did stuff in meatspace, Victor pulled up the internet and found two groups that had been putting out a lot of content about Waynesboro.

The first, WatchTheSkies.org, was a ufologist blog focusing on slaughtered cattle and flying lights ran by one Scott Adams, who was based out of Knoxville but was now on-site (forgot to strip his meta-data!), but had been radio-silent for 2 days.  The other, PhenomeneX, was a youtube channel ran by a group that focused on debunking other "amateur" ufologists.

The Hurricane Inn

The party decided to head to the Hurricane Inn to secure a place to stay, and found it to be a two-story motel with another detached building up a hill.  The parking lot was mostly empty, but there was one white panel van half-covered in WatchTheSkies stickers ("We got 'im, boys").  While heading to the front desk, Juan and Victor started to hatch a plan, where they would pretend to be UFO enthusiasts and just hang out in the parking lot waiting for Scott to overhear and approach them.

While talking to the receptionist, who mistook "friends on vacation" to mean "gay lovers", Juan was able to read her computer's screen off of the mirror on the wall behind the counter (crit Luck Roll to get the mirror and another crit to be able to read the screen), where he saw that Scott Adams was in the Honeymoon Suite, that a room was rented for "Storage" that was checking out the same day as Scott, and another was rented by one Frank Karinkula.

Juan and Victor's UFO enthusiast plan evolved into a fake identity, which Victor started to set up: Jarrett Holer, another online conspiracist/investigator here to check out the area, and a fan of WatchTheSkies, and part of a team working with Victor (who is actually a ufologist) and David (the accountant/business end of their team).

While Victor hacked Mark Zuckerberg to set up a fake Facebook profile, Juan did recon to locate the other rented rooms, and figured that the honeymoon suite was the stand-alone cabin.  He then went out to get "food" (really energy drinks and cheetos), parked the SUV in a spot facing the suite, and set up a spy camera inside to monitor Scott; the curtains on the suite were closed, so they couldn't see him until he left.  For good measure, Victor also hacked the motel's CCTV cameras.

They decided to head back to the place where Billy had disappeared at the same time he vanished, in case anything weird happened, and on the way out of the parking lot Juan planted a tracker on Scott's van.  Nothing had happened by 10, so they headed back to the Hurricane Inn to get some rest, with the camera monitoring the honeymoon suite set to alarm if it detected any motion.  It didn't.

09/08/18 Jane

Scott still hadn't left or done anything, and Juan opined that he had probably been "alien'd".  With no good way to bring him into the investigation officially, the agents decided to go talk to Jane Allen, Billy's girlfriend (and got her address from his phone's GPS).  She wasn't home, but her mom, Nancy, was, and offered to answer some questions.  She invited the agents in for tea/coffee, which David made sure not to drink.

Nancy seemed out of it, and David figured she was on some sort of mind-altering drugs.  Under the pretense of going to the washroom (a gambit which all three players came up with at the same time), Juan quickly scanned the house, but found nothing of note with a quick scan.  She was unhelpful, but seemed to genuinely not know anything about Billy or the whereabouts of Jane, or her husband.  The party hung around for about another 30 minutes, but Jane didn't show up, so Juan left his number for her to call in case Jane showed up, and the party left.

They decided to grab some food from the diner, which they'd been recommended by several people, and planned their next move.  Despite Juan repeatedly saying that Scott was "100% dead", he sent up a request for his criminal record from his phone, on the off chance he had a history with drugs.  Several hours later, they found out that he was only arrested for trespassing twice, and decided to go take a closer look at the honeymoon suite.

David went up to the building and took a look around, but couldn't see anything past the curtains, so they went to Plan C.  Juan went to the woman at the front desk, posing as a fan of Scott's who had recognized his van from all the stickers, and asked for her to give him a call so they could talk about UFOs.  She, again, interpreted this as though Juan was a gay polygamist, but gave him a call anyway.  Scott didn't answer, so she told Juan that he was in the honeymoon suite while winking conspiratorially.

On his way to the honeymoon suite, Juan saw movement out of the corner of his eye in room 109, which was the "storage" room they had figured was also being rented out to Scott.  He approached under the cover of Jarett Holer, but nobody responded, so he headed back up to the suite.  Knocking elicited no response, so he "gave up", and headed back to their hotel room.

And then Victor looped the CCTV footage and Juan headed back downstairs, hammered on room 109's door, and shouted "DEA!  We have reason to believe there are drugs on the premises!  Open up!", and a panicked girl responded through the door to please not arrest her.  Juan backed down and said that they wouldn't, but that she still needed to open up.

The door opened to reveal a tired and dishevelled Jane Allen, who looked to be six months pregnant.  This didn't track with what the agents had seen from her social media, where she there were no signs she was pregnant at all.

Notes:
Apparently this adventure is ludicrously lethal, so the GM had everybody make a spare PC.  So far, it doesn't seem bad, but maybe we've just been lucky.  He's also said that he's read of other groups going stupidly off the rails and being chased by tanks, so who knows.

We selected these PCs because they have a good mix of skills; Victor's the computer nerd, David's the doctor nerd, and Juan's the gun nerd.

Juan (and my spare PC, who is a CDC Scientist) are the only PCs not from the FBI.  Both of the other spare characters are FBI Agents.  They're also the only PCs without another PC as a Bond.  Taking another PC as a Bond in a game where the GM has said "make two characters in case one dies" is not the best decision, but there you go.

Is David a doctor, or an FBI agent?  He's both!  Dr. Agent David "Doctor" Trentmen, reporting for duty!

None of us are American, so US geography is not our strong point.  We were all very surprised that Tennessee was adjacent to Virginia (David: "I'm learning!" Juan: "Noooooooo!").

I, personally, want to gain Adapted to Violence to minimize long-term SAN loss, so I didn't try to project my SAN loss from the gas station guy's head getting punched off.

In retrospect, we definitely should have questioned Angel.  Caring about people's feelings isn't for Delta Green FBI/DEA agents!

Juan wants to go 100% stealth and only reveal that we're agents to those we have to, while David wants to just say "We're FBI" and avoid all the pointless skulking and planning (a fair point).  Victor has ended up being the deciding vote.

It turns out that despite owning lockpicks, David can not actually pick locks.

Juan is confident that there is an alien inside of Jane, and that David's going to have to perform an alien abortion.

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