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Allen1

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About Allen1

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  1. Generally speaking in our campaigns Wardrobe & Style, Personal Grooming & Social tests are done at the Easy difficulty. This level of success means you haven't embarrassed yourself socially and/or you aren't a fashion "disaster". An Average difficulty roll is exactly that: You have comported yourself well in the situation and/or your appearance is on par with what is expected. When you hit a Difficult or better test result that usually puts yourself in the category of one of the polished and/or "beautiful people". This type of roll is usually only made by those with superior stats and skills or by rolling a rare critical success. Of course this can be situational too. What is OK at a dive bar isn't impressive at a high society or major corporate function. If our Team is trying to impress people at a meeting, success in doing so will depend on what kind of meeting it is. An Easy difficulty outcome at a major event will not be too embarrassing, but will make you no "points". In our current campaign most of our time is spent in a swampy jungle so there isn't a lot of opportunity for Wardrobe & Style or Personal Grooming rolls although meeting with the various indigenous tribal elders gives people a chance on these scores. However, social rolls with the natives are tricky as cultural differences will depress your final outcome without the local Culture or language skills. Our group also like to "have a good time" when they can, so the Dance skill along with Seduction is often rolled. While a good Dance roll is mostly flavor for any particular scene and the die has a uniform result, we base Seduction on a character's or NPC's Stability number with the various modifiers listed in Wildside. We do use one modifier not listed in that book. A PC's may have a +5 to their Stability if they choose verses another PC. This is often used when a PC tries to "Seduce" another PC. However, this situation doesn't often occur. 😎
  2. Our gaming group is taking a month's break now as a convention that most of the group participates in is coming up in the middle of November. Heck, our GM and a player actually are some of the main organizers. I myself have a play opening up at the end of the week so things are getting a bit crazy. Anyhow, we will be back with Episode 20 at the end of November. Until then we might post so extraneous information about what is happening, but for now the convention will be sucking up a lot of our time. Please enjoy Episode 19! Episode 19 – The Holy Place With the threat of the Devil’s Cartel soldiers near the Emberá village taken care of for now, the Team relaxes for the daylight hours and a few pranks to relieve the stress. The trip to the Holy Place is uneventful until the pranking reaches a climax. In the end it’s all good and the Brits and the Team head out to pick up the corpse of the fallen SAS trooper. Background Most of the world has gone to shit. It hasn’t died in a nuclear conflagration although a few bombs did go off in the Middle East. Global warming has finally melted most of the ice caps and many of the major coastal cities of the world have had to build dikes or move inland. The Wasting Plague has devastated the world population. A cure was finally produced, but billions died before it could be implemented. Western Europe has risen from the ashes and is once again the shining beacon of civilization, but it is drunk with its own power. Instead of helping raise the rest of the world out of darkness, it has used its power to maintain its hold over the economy of the world. China and Japan have recovered to a great degree and stand opposed to any European hegemony. The United States has not fared well. Their constant warfare of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century strained their economy to the breaking point. When international financiers discovered that United States was manipulating international currencies to prop up their bloated debt ridden economy, the world responded with a global embargo which collapsed the American economy. This occurred just as the Wasting Plague hit and led to almost complete societal disintegration. The government was powerless to stop it, so the United States military stepped in. It took almost a decade, but the country was put back together, more or less. The country is still fractured, but slowly recovering, although there are wide areas of lawless land from “sea to polluted sea”. The political situation with our southern neighbors hasn’t improved very much. After two centuries of bullying by the colossus in the north, many South and Central American countries have taken the opportunity to pay back the United States in kind, by supporting America’s enemies who wish to keep this country destabilized. The memory of recent unsuccessful interventions in those southern regions have left not only bad feelings, but human victims are trapped in the ruins of the unsuccessful brush fire wars that were fought to America’s south. These are the issues at hand. Aries’ Misguided Children Lieutenant Arnold Banner – Call Sign: Romeo (Army Delta Force) – Solo 7: This muscular, friendly soldier is the Team’s Heavy Weapons and Demolitions specialist. He is outgoing, always with a joke or some witty quip (at least to his mind). His only personal fault might be that some don’t appreciate his somewhat ‘blue’ sense of humor. He was acquitted of the theft charges and is actually completely innocent. As to his kidnapped girlfriend, Lt. Banner had nothing to do with it. Lieutenant Axel Murphy – Call Sign: Nomad (Navy Seals) – Solo 6: This young man could be the poster boy for the Navy Seals. His career has been exemplary and as such is the highest ranking member of the Team. While this makes him technically the Team leader, his style is one of consensus on operation tactics. He believes in using each of the members’ unique abilities and perspectives. Lieutenant James Silva – Call Sign: God (Marine Force Recon) – Solo 6: Come from the streets of Boston up in New England. In his neighborhood, you became a crook or a cop …..usually a crook. Instead James went into the Marines. His street reflexes almost ended his Marine career before it begun. He did get in a fight in his first year and severely injured someone. The Marines still saw promise in the young man and kept him in after he did his time. The Corps was right and James Silva has become an excellent sniper and Special Forces operator. Ensign Jamal Hemings – Call Sign: Anubis (Navy Seals) – Medtech 6: Jamal is the Team Medic and was born in a black working class neighborhood in Detroit in 2042. When Jamal was 15, his younger brother was killed by a cop for “playing with a toy gun while black.” This had a profound—though not immediately obvious—impact on Jamal. When he graduated from high school two years later at age 17, he joined the Navy. While his family is Moslem and his father is devout. His mother is more relaxed about prayer observances. So, Jamal did not learn Arabic, and so cannot read the Koran. As he grew older, he became more respectful of his religion, and has recently resolved to learn Arabic so that he can read the Koran. Lieutenant Charles Stuart – Call Sign: Darwin (Royal Marines / Special Boat Service) – Solo 7: This scion of the old Scottish House of Stuart is on loan from the Special Boat Service and serving as a liaison to British interests in the region. Orphaned in his early youth, Charles grew up in poor circumstances until a mysterious benefactor arranged his attendance at the elite Eaton College. Despite his excellent academic record and ancient lineage (or maybe because of it), he was denied entrance to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He enlisted in the Royal Marines and in eleven years has risen through the ranks to 2nd Lieutenant and a position in the Special Boat Service. He was chosen for this assignment due to his skills and friendship with Lieutenant Axel Murphy with whom he participated in an inter-service training exercise a number of years ago. Sebastián Favala {Phoenix Russell} – Call Sign: Rover (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Panzerboy 7 [Runner4]: This young man is a vehicle savant. He has a gift with almost anything he tries to pilot, but especially with ground vehicles. At nineteen Sebastián is the youngest member of the group although Gabriela is only six months older. Although he is trapped in this job, thanks to his fair treatment by Aries and some subliminal loyalty suggestions implanted during his cyberware therapy from the Agency, he is loyal to his new employers, at least for now. Besides he now has lots and lots of new toys available to amuse him. Gabriela Flores {Suki Barnes} – Call Sign: Whisper (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Spy 7 [Interface 3]: This young woman is the Drone/NET operator although she is also cross trained as an intrusion specialist. This tech is also trained in Electronic Warfare. Gabriela’s primary cover Role is as a NET Tech with Crosswire from the RUST Never Sleeps Net Book. Her secondary occupation is a bit more lethal and unknown to the Team. In her mind the C.I.A. has saved her life. She is the “Apt Pupil”. Aries was correct about her needs and this man has filled Gabby’s/Suki’s desire for a father figure. At present the Agency is her mother and Aries is her father. Sean Flynn – Call Sign: Harp (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Fixer/Negotiator 7 [Combat Sense 3]: This agent is a childhood friend of Axel Murphy. In fact the two joined the US Navy together and both entered the SEAL Program at the same time. After that they were assigned to different teams. In his first hitch with the SEALs Sean was on a mission on the Pacific coast in the Choco Department of Colombia when things went horribly wrong. His arm was crippled and eventually lost. His Team was all killed due to an error by their Navy boat handler and he was presumed killed. In fact he escaped into the jungle and was found by some Emberá Indians. The local elder (chief) took a liking to him and that man’s son, the shaman who also had modern medical training, saved his life. There Sean lived for six months and was adopted into the tribe before his new friends smuggled him into Panama and back to the American Military. He rejected a cyberlimb and waited for a cloned armed. Discharged from the Navy, he joined the C.I.A. and served as an analyst for a few years before being selected for the Special Activities Division. Aries snapped him right up when he became available due to his local knowledge and negotiating skills. The NPCs Aries: The Team’s mysterious “shot caller” who seems to have enormous resources and backing along with the support of the C.I.A. and United States government. He is clearly ex-military and has extensive spycraft training. Captain Price: A British SAS officer leading another team in Colombia. Diego: An older Emberá native and experienced warrior traveling with the refugees who is the personal bodyguard of the young heir, Santiago. Gaz: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. Ghostrider (Lettie😞 A top notch pilot that works for Aries delivering and picking up his teams when they are in country. Gunny John: An advisor and trainer who works for Aries, who is clearly ex or current military. Marie: She is a college educated nurse whose mother is an Emberá native from the village the Team is at. Protector: The man in charge of defending the Emberá Holy Place. Santiago: A young adult who is the heir to the Cacique (the paramount chief or king) of the whole of the Emberá people. The “refugees” traveling with him are in actuality his personal guard. Sebastián Pablo Escobar Rodriguez: He is the great grandson of both Pablo Escobar and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, the two principle founders of the Medellin Drug Cartel and now is the number two leader of that cartel himself! Smith: A mysterious United States government agent, who works with Aries. Whisper saw him in Episode 11 but he was never introduced. Unknown to her he was there to evaluate her for a position in the C.I.A.’s so-called “Triple X Program”. Soap: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. The Action Wednesday, March 19, 2070: The Team arrives back at the Emberá village just after midnight with canoes loaded with captured weapons. They turn them all over to the natives except for two belt feed M-60 machine guns (each with 600 rounds, cased). These are stored in the SOC-R. Everyone gets out of their wet uniforms and a number of the males go down to the river to wash off and remove any leeches that have found a new home on their bodies. Whisper uses the village bath house. Nomad warns her not to fall asleep or she might end up with “a lot of horny guys staring at her.” Romeo decides to shave the stubble growing out of his bald pate with his mono combat knife. Unfortunately, he cuts a gash across his scalp (a botch). He just dabs the blood away and goes to sleep. After sun rise, Nomad and Whisper are having coffee when Romeo comes out of the Team’s communal hut. His head gash has reopened and his head is now encrusted with dried blood. Whisper looks for Sebastián, but he is not around. She asks Aries where he is and is told that the Emberá took him and his bodyguards out of the village last night back to his cartel. Everyone sets their armored jumpsuits out to dry in the tropical sun. Whisper tries to get some native Emberá clothing but the locals are strangely reluctant. Anubis heads to the infirmary to assist Marie with her morning rounds. He finds her appealing on a number of levels and expresses an interest in getting to know her better. Marie is polite in return, but not apparently interested, for now. Whisper steps in to the hospital and sees Anubis making his move. She is about to leave when Romeo walks in and asks if some can clean up his scalp wound. Whisper volunteers to help, leads him into a screened off treatment area and cleans of the blood and dirt. When it comes time to disinfect the rather deep cut her hand goes by the antiseptic ointment and picks up a bottle of alcohol. Unprepared for this, Romeo lets out a scream that is heard across the entire village. The NET Runner innocently asks, “Did that hurt? I’m sorry.” She dabs the alcohol off and applies Mercurochrome instead. This is followed by more screams of pain. Embarrassed by his own cries, Romeo tries to cover this by saying (about Whisper), “Oh, I heard the stories, but I didn’t know you liked it this rough.” Whisper just pours on more Mercurochrome. Anubis rushes in to see what is wrong. When he looks at the scene, he gives Whisper a “thumbs up”. The Net Runner tells Romeo, “OK, I’m finished with you.” The Delta Force operator replies, “You know, I’ve always wanted to hear those words from you, but not in this way.” Rover rushes into the hospital, sees the two and smiles. Whisper puts some gauze on the wound and secures it with duct tape. She smiles and leaves the infirmary whispering under her breath, “My work is done here.” Darwin heads down to the SOC-R and cleans the heavy weapons. Nomad heads down there also with the ammunition that arrived yesterday and reloads the ammo hoppers. God, who has also cleaned his weapons finds a good hide spot and helps the native hunters guard the village. Whisper looks for Aries and finds him with Smith. She walks up and asks her boss if she can talk to him alone. Smith excuses himself and the bodyguards withdraw leaving the two alone. Whisper asks him, “So what is the deal with Sebastián?” “We are friends, now, good friends,” Aries replies cheerfully. “Don’t worry. I didn’t hurt your boyfriend.” The shot caller then realizes what prompts this question and adds, “He seems to really like you.” With that Whisper’s face lights up with a big smile as she blurts out, “Really?” She catches herself and the smile disappears, “OK.” The girl walks away. Aries notices a new spring in her step. He knows she always has had a thing for bad boys. Finally, Ghostrider brings her AV in to pick up Aries, Smith, Gunny John and the bodyguard team. The AV also brings in all the new supplies the Team has requested. Besides everyone’s requested supplies are more Heavy LAWs and a crate of claymore mines. Also being delivered are 35 AK-47s, ammunition and 35 sets of old armored BDUs for the Emberá hunters to put them on a more even footing with the Devil’s Cartel soldiers. The Team is a bit surprised by the size of the crate for Whisper. Their curiosity is satisfied when she asks Romeo, the Team demo expert, what kind of explosives he has. This turns out to be the claymores that just arrived (by Nomad’s request). She pulls out an explosives field kit, 12 kilos of C-6 and gives it to him. He is both surprised and grateful. Nomad sees the amount of explosives and takes a step back saying, “You can stay away from me if you’re carrying all of that.” To the heavy weapons men she says, “I have a surprise for you too.” Whisper pulls out a Milan-C LATGM for them. She also has ordered two Scorpion-16 SAM launchers with a total of 8 spytech missiles. All this gear is handed out and the Team repacks their kits. Much of the new gear is put on the SOC-R. With this done Aries, Smith, Gunny John and the guards leave aboard the AV with Ghostrider. As darkness falls, the Team says good bye to their new Emberá friends. Anubis makes sure he says good bye to Marie. An hour and a half after sundown the Team leaves the village to bring Santiago and his people to the Emberá “Holy Place”. When they are underway, Darwin begins to give boat handling instruction to Rover, Anubis and Romeo. *** Thursday, March 20, 2070: A few hours after midnight the Team’s SOC-R makes the dash across the Rio Atrato unnoticed and into the swamps on the western side of the river. Guided by Diego and Santiago the Team reaches the Embera “Holy Place” just before dawn. Diego suggests they wait until the sun is up before they enter the village there, so the Team pulls their boat over to the bank and camouflages the SOC-R. They have about two hours till dawn so Nomad puts on his sleep inducer to get some rest. Whisper sits with Santiago and Diego and asks the young heir about his plans for his people and what he is looking to accomplish. Meanwhile Rover looks at the sleeping Nomad and decides to take a sharpie and draw a mustache and uni-brow on the unconscious SEAL. Well, Nomad may be asleep, but Captain Price isn’t and warns the young man, “That’s not a wise idea kid.” “I know,” the young man responds with a smile, “I’ll deal with the pain later. Besides, I’ll just blame Romeo.” Most of the Team and the Brits notice this, but no one says anything. Romeo shakes his head and murmurs under his breath, “Nobody is going to have your back on this one.” Rover decides it might be best not to be in the immediate area when his team leader wakes up, so he slips away from the group into the brush. As he is hiding and looking back towards the Team and their craft, the young man is suddenly aware that there are four spear tips wielded by Embera hunters very close to his head. He considers fighting, but chooses the wiser course of action and surrenders. Rover is disarmed, tied up and brought into the village. When Nomad wakes up, Price hands the SEAL a little pocket mirror. The man isn’t pleased. Romeo walks by, looks at Nomad and tells him, “You really ought to get some advice from Whisper on how to put on make-up.” A very pissed off Nomad uses some alcohol pads to clean off the marker, and everyone, except Rover, heads into the Embera village. As they enter they see Rover is now gagged and tied to a post in his underwear and tee shirt. Most of the Team doesn’t say anything to the young man, except Whisper who is at the rear and whispers to him as she passes, “Totally worth it.” Santiago and Diego leads the Team to who they call the village Protector and explains what happened. This Protector listens and tells the Team he will provide whatever they need. Whisper asks if they know the movements of the Devil’s Cartel in the area. He tells them there are no Devil’s Cartel members in this area anymore as he gestures to a line of stakes surrounding the village. Each one has a head impaled on it. Anubis says under his breath, “Nice.” Whisper informs the Protector that the one tied to post isn’t a Devil’s Cartel member, but one of their Team. Before the Embera leader can respond, Nomad says, “He can stay there for a while.” The Team is told they are welcome here and food and a place to rest is provided. Romeo walks over to the tied up Rover and tells him with a smile, “Thanks, dude. I think I am no more the most hated member of the Team now.” Santiago and Diego meet with the Protector to discuss the current hostile situation with the Devil’s Cartel and the proposed alliance. As for the Team, hammocks are provided for them to rest and food to eat. Anubis goes to the bath house and cleans up. After he comes out, the SEAL medic askes the natives if anyone in the village needs any medical treatment. Overhearing this, Romeo asks him, if he could check the bandages on his head. Apparently he no longer wishes to have Whisper tend to his wound. Besides she has already passed out in one of the hammocks. Anubis smiles and says, “Sure.” The medic takes the duct tape and rips it off the Delta Force operators head. Again Romeo’s scream of pain echoes across the village. The NET Runner opens one eye and smiles before drifting off to sleep. Anubis says, with mock concern, as he pulls out some mercurochrome, “Oh, this needs some work.” Meanwhile Nomad, God and a couple of the SAS men go back to the SOC-R to get some of the gear. Afterward God heads to get a bath and the others get some rack time; that is all except for Nomad who had used his sleep inducer early this morning. He wakes Whisper and asks if she has any hot wax. The NET Runner looks at him with an annoyed look in her eyes and says no. The SEAL explains her, “Well, you’re a girl and you look well kept.” She rolls her eyes, turns over and goes back to sleep. Nomad settles for his “90 mile an hour tape”, goes over to Rover and starts cutting off strips of the tape. He then puts them on the young man’s hairy legs and then pulls them off. Now it is Rover’s muffled screams that are heard by some. Finally this wakes Whisper who heads over to the stake and tells Nomad, “Stop it, he’s only a kid.” The SEAL looks up at her and pulls off the last strip on young man’s leg, leaving only one strip in the hair. The NET Runner cuts Rover loose and tells him to some with her and she will get the last tape strip out of his hair. Nomad tells her, “No, you won’t.” Whisper’s eyes flash with anger as she tells him, “He (Rover) is an Agency man and I am the senior field agent!” Nomad is aware that this girl has been gifted with the military rank equivalent of a Captain and is the C.I.A. team leader. He yields to her. Besides, the SEAL has gotten his revenge in spades! The girl brings Rover to her gear and uses her alcohol and personal grooming gear to remove the tape (mostly) painlessly. He does lose some of his hair, so she gives him a haircut. When she is finished, Rover walks up to Nomad, offers his hand and tells him, “Touché.” The two shake hands and the tit for tat is apparently over. However, as Rover walks away he begins thinking about his next prank. Next time he decides maybe not to prank his commanding officer. The whole Team settles down to rest, except Anubis who goes to the village infirmary and starts to help with the patients there. Among the patients, one has been mauled by a jaguar and another attacked by a caiman. The SEAL medic uses much disinfectant, stitches and bandages. The Team is informed that the Emberá leaders want to meet that night for dinner to discuss giving them an advanced base in the swamps of the Rio Atrato valley. Everyone finally settles on a hidden hunting village just off the Brazo de Murundo about 8 kilometers (5 miles) east from the Rio Atrato between La Isla and Guayabal. There will be anywhere between 30 and 40 hunters there at any one time. When Whisper offers training from the Team, she asks if they have an existing militia. The Protector stands proudly and boasts that he and three of his men captured Rover. Whisper tells them, “That’s not hard.” A back and forth of veiled insults concerning the stealth and warrior talents of the Team vs. his hunters pass, before the NET Runner says, “Whatever!” Despite this little wrinkle all goes well with the negotiations. The Emberá hunters at this new village will serve as a “base” garrison and the Team will rearm them with modern weapons and training. They will also, over time, train small numbers of the Protector’s hunters in modern weapons and supply gear. It is further agreed that the Emberá will teach the Team their way around the swamps; in particular where NOT to go. As for now, the Team will honor their commitment to Captain Price and his team to retrieve the corpse of his downed man, who was lost about 10 kilometers northeast of the hospital where they met on the Rio Sucio. If they leave just before sunset, they should be able to make it by dawn of the next day. That is if they want risk running down a good portion of the Rio Atrato out in the open. They decide to try to blend in with the nightly river traffic and dismount the weapons. The Team puts some thatched leaves to cover their canopy as a bit of disguise. Whisper charts a course to a small cove a couple of hundred meters from the doctor’s mission where they could hide their boat in. The Team leaves by nightfall for the hospital area off the Rio Sucio to travel back to pick up deceased SAS operator. However, an hour or so before mid-night while traveling the river, a passing boat about 2 meters longer than theirs hits them with a searchlight and a voice comes over a loudspeaker saying in Spanish, “Turn off your motor and prepare to be boarded.” Whisper is NOT about to allow herself to be captured and pulls up a Heavy LAW. (Time for initiative) The enemy is on an old PBR (patrol boat – riverine) with a .50 caliber weapon in a pintel mount on the bow. As a solo, Romeo gets off the first shot with a Heavy LAW. The round blows through the bow and destroys the bunk room / kitchen spaces. It also seriously compromises the boat’s structural integrity. Harp fires next with a three round burst from his assault rifle at the gunner on the bow .50 caliber. One round tears into one of the gunner’s arms, but he is still up. Nomad pulls out his “pirate gun”. Whisper beats the enemy boat’s gunner by a fraction and fires her Heavy LAW at the gun mount. This takes out the gun and gunner. The blast radius also kills the pilot, the man on the searchlight and a third man with an AKM standing next to the pilot. Rover now fires his Heavy LAW at the enemy craft. This blast cracks the hull and it begins to slowly sink. On the stern of the vessel the light from the explosion illuminates the two boarders, who are throwing their weapons into the river and diving off the now burning boat. Rover looks at the devastation his rocket inflicted on the enemy boat and says, “Holy Shit, I did that?” Romeo shouts at them, “Buenas noches, piratas!” The Team ceases fire and continues up the river. After a few hours the Team head off the Rio Atrato and head up the Rio Sucio. *** Friday, March 21, 2070: Just as the pre-dawn light starts, the Team brings their SOC-R into the hidden cove near the massacred hospital, where they camouflage it from sight (hopefully). In the sky, a thunderstorm is brewing. Whisper sends up her drone to check out the hospital before the incoming bad weather grounds it. The scene there is even worse than their last look through the drone’s eyes. There are people laid out who have been flayed alive. Others have been tortured and crucified. She records it, but keeps the scene to herself, for now. Nomad and Price decide the Team members that didn’t sleep last night will use their sleep inducers to rest and then head out in two hours to recover the body of the SAS man. Next: Episode 20 – No Man Left Behind
  3. I generally have no trouble getting people to roll for Wardrobe & Style or Personal Grooming as appearance has always been a necessity to get into the best clubs and such. Most of our Players have always operated under the maxim of Style over Substance. Social rolls are also a must, because as stated, no one will talk to you if you don't "fit in" to where you are.
  4. I have done a lot of reading on the Paris Commune. While the Commune arose as a reaction to the incompetence of the government of Napoleon III and their dreadful mismanagement of the Franco-Prussian War of 1970, the undercurrent of popular discontent had been brewing since the aforementioned Napoleon III had co-opted the Second Republic that had replaced the Orleanist monarchy. The government that followed the fall of the Emperor of the French was a mix of old monarchists, new bourgeois capitalists and discredited French military officers. The final symbolic straw the set of the revolt was the government's decision to allow the German Army a victory march through Paris after which the citizens of that capital went out on mass and scrubbed the streets where the Germans had marched. More importantly the new government insisted on the immediate repayments of all debts that had occurred during the siege of Paris. This would bring immediate ruin to the poor and small shopkeepers in that city. The rising of Paris shocked everyone including Karl Marx as it was truly a popular reaction of the people. The old government, now in Versailles, was powerless. The Commune quickly had about 400,000 men (and women) under arms and where now manning the extensive fortresses and walls of Paris. At the time the British ambassador remarked that the only thing that would bring down the Commune was if they fell to arguing among themselves, which, of course, they did. So, a Communard subculture might work well as a large group with many factions dedicated to pulling off their revolution, but unable to agree on exactly how to do it, but with each group establishing their vision in their individual areas of control. What keeps them from tearing each other apart is their dedication to a united Proletarian Revolution. As Germans (Prussians) have been removed from the area I think that there would be few real royalist / monarchist groups. That is unless you shaped your Druzhina subcultures to also wanted to bring back the old royal rule of the Balt tribes that inhabited the area up through the 13th to 16th centuries of which the Lithuanians and Latvians (among others) are descended from. These would be two diametrically opposed group / philosophies that would keep their own groups together as the Communards wouldn't fall to serious fighting in fear that the "monarchist" Druzhina would take advantage. The various factions of these monarchists would unite so the "Commie Bastards" (a bit of American slang here) wouldn't take over. Just throwing out a few thoughts here as I get ready to write up Episode 19 of my Cyberpunk 2069 Campaign.
  5. Tired of being chased around the swamps of the Rio Atrato valley the Team takes their frustration out on a detachment of Devil's Cartel soldiers. Episode 18 – Strike Back! The Team has reached the temporary safety of the Emberá village where they brought Santiago to. One of the people that arrived with Aries and Smith yesterday proves to be the new eighth member of the Team, a C.I.A. operator called Harp, bringing them (along with Darwin) to a full strength eight person strike group. Now that some sort of agreement has been reached with the Medellin Cartel (details of which is way above the Team’s security clearance) the overall mission is now concentrated on the Devil’s Cartel, which has been pursuing them. A platoon of this enemy has been located in the area and the group decides time for running away is over. With the help of local Emberá hunters, the Team decides to strike back, hard! Background Most of the world has gone to shit. It hasn’t died in a nuclear conflagration although a few bombs did go off in the Middle East. Global warming has finally melted most of the ice caps and many of the major coastal cities of the world have had to build dikes or move inland. The Wasting Plague has devastated the world population. A cure was finally produced, but billions died before it could be implemented. Western Europe has risen from the ashes and is once again the shining beacon of civilization, but it is drunk with its own power. Instead of helping raise the rest of the world out of darkness, it has used its power to maintain its hold over the economy of the world. China and Japan have recovered to a great degree and stand opposed to any European hegemony. The United States has not fared well. Their constant warfare of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century strained their economy to the breaking point. When international financiers discovered that United States was manipulating international currencies to prop up their bloated debt ridden economy, the world responded with a global embargo which collapsed the American economy. This occurred just as the Wasting Plague hit and led to almost complete societal disintegration. The government was powerless to stop it, so the United States military stepped in. It took almost a decade, but the country was put back together, more or less. The country is still fractured, but slowly recovering, although there are wide areas of lawless land from “sea to polluted sea”. The political situation with our southern neighbors hasn’t improved very much. After two centuries of bullying by the colossus in the north, many South and Central American countries have taken the opportunity to pay back the United States in kind, by supporting America’s enemies who wish to keep this country destabilized. The memory of recent unsuccessful interventions in those southern regions have left not only bad feelings, but human victims are trapped in the ruins of the unsuccessful brush fire wars that were fought to America’s south. These are the issues at hand. Aries’ Misguided Children Lieutenant Arnold Banner – Call Sign: Romeo (Army Delta Force) – Solo 7: This muscular, friendly soldier is the Team’s Heavy Weapons and Demolitions specialist. He is outgoing, always with a joke or some witty quip (at least to his mind). His only personal fault might be that some don’t appreciate his somewhat ‘blue’ sense of humor. He was acquitted of the theft charges and is actually completely innocent. As to his kidnapped girlfriend, Lt. Banner had nothing to do with her disappearance or death. Lieutenant Axel Murphy – Call Sign: Nomad (Navy SEALs) – Solo 6: This young man could be the poster boy for the Navy Seals. His career has been exemplary and as such is the highest ranking member of the Team. While this makes him technically the Team leader, his style is one of consensus on operation tactics. He believes in using each of the members’ unique abilities and perspectives. Lieutenant James Silva – Call Sign: God (Marine Force Recon) – Solo 6: Come from the streets of Boston up in New England. In his neighborhood, you became a crook or a cop …..usually a crook. Instead James went into the Marines. His street reflexes almost ended his Marine career before it begun. He did get in a fight in his first year and severely injured someone. The Marines still saw promise in the young man and kept him in after he did his time. The Corps was right and James Silva has become an excellent sniper and Special Forces operator. Ensign Jamal Hemings – Call Sign: Anubis (Navy SEALs) – Medtech 6: Jamal is the Team Medic and was born in a black working class neighborhood in Detroit in 2042. When Jamal was 15, his younger brother was killed by a cop for “playing with a toy gun while black.” This had a profound—though not immediately obvious—impact on Jamal. When he graduated from high school two years later at age 17, he joined the Navy. While his family is Moslem and his father is devout. His mother is more relaxed about prayer observances. So, Jamal did not learn Arabic, and so cannot read the Koran. As he grew older, he became more respectful of his religion, and has recently resolved to learn Arabic so that he can read the Koran. Lieutenant Charles Stuart – Call Sign: Darwin (Royal Marines / Special Boat Service) – Solo 7: This scion of the old Scottish House of Stuart is on loan from the Special Boat Service and serving as a liaison to British interests in the region. Orphaned in his early youth, Charles grew up in poor circumstances until a mysterious benefactor arranged his attendance at the elite Eaton College. Despite his excellent academic record and ancient lineage (or maybe because of it), he was denied entrance to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He enlisted in the Royal Marines and in eleven years has risen through the ranks to 2nd Lieutenant and a position in the Special Boat Service. He was chosen for this assignment due to his skills and friendship with Lieutenant Axel Murphy with whom he participated in an inter-service training exercise a number of years ago. Sebastián Favala {Phoenix Russell} – Call Sign: Rover (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Panzerboy 7 [Runner4]: This young man is a vehicle savant. He has a gift with almost anything he tries to pilot, but especially with ground vehicles. At nineteen Sebastián is the youngest member of the group although Gabriela is only six months older. Although he is trapped in this job, thanks to his fair treatment by Aries and some subliminal loyalty suggestions implanted during his cyberware therapy from the Agency, he is loyal to his new employers, at least for now. Besides he now has lots and lots of new toys available to amuse him. Gabriela Flores {Suki Barnes} – Call Sign: Whisper (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Spy 7 [interface 3]: This young woman is the Drone/NET operator although she is also cross trained as an intrusion specialist. This tech is also trained in Electronic Warfare. Gabriela’s primary cover Role is as a NET Tech with Crosswire from the RUST Never Sleeps Net Book. Her secondary occupation is a bit more lethal and unknown to the Team. In her mind the C.I.A. has saved her life. She is the “Apt Pupil”. Aries was correct about her needs and this man has filled Suki’s need for a father figure. At present the Agency is her mother and Aries is her father. Sean Flynn – Call Sign: Harp (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Fixer/Negotiator 7 [Combat Sense 3]: This agent is a childhood friend of Axel Murphy. In fact the two joined the US Navy together and both entered the SEAL Program at the same time. After that they were assigned to different teams. In his first hitch with the SEALs Sean was on a mission on the Pacific coast in the Choco Department of Colombia when things went horribly wrong. His arm was crippled and eventually lost. His Team was all killed due to an error by their Navy boat handler and he was presumed killed. In fact he escaped into the jungle and was found by some Emberá Indians. The local elder (chief) took a liking to him and that man’s son, the shaman who also had modern medical training, saved his life. There Sean lived for six months and was adopted into the tribe before his new friends smuggled him into Panama and back to the American Military. He rejected a cyberlimb and waited for a cloned armed. Discharged from the Navy, he joined the C.I.A. and served as an analyst for a few years before being selected for the Special Activities Division. Aries snapped him right up when he became available due to his local knowledge and negotiating skills. The NPCs Aries: The Team’s mysterious “shot caller” who seems to have enormous resources and backing along with the support of the C.I.A. and United States government. His “Children” here are just one of the Teams he is handling from his floating operational headquarters aboard the Olympus. He is clearly ex-military and has extensive spycraft training. Captain Price: A British SAS officer leading another team in Colombia. Diego: An older Emberá native and experienced warrior traveling with the refugees who is the personal bodyguard of the young heir, Santiago. Gaz: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. Marie: She is a college educated nurse whose mother is an Emberánative from the village the Team is going to. Santiago: A young adult who is the heir to the Cacique (the paramount chief or king) of the whole of the Emberá people. The “refugees” traveling with him are in actuality his personal guard. Sebastián Pablo Escobar Rodriguez: He is the great grandson of both Pablo Escobar and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, the two principle founders of the Medellin Drug Cartel and now is the number two leader of that cartel himself! Smith: A mysterious United States government agent, who works with Aries. Whisper saw him in Episode 11 but he was never introduced. Unknown to her he was there to evaluate her for a position in the C.I.A.’s so-called “Triple X Program”. Soap: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. The Action Tuesday, March 18, 2070: The Team continues their morning meeting. One of the people they though is just a member of Aries’ security group comes up and sits in on the meeting. Aries introduces him as Harp, what is unknown to the Team is this man is a C.I.A. operator, who has just been assigned to the group. It is clear that Nomad and the “new guy” know each other. The former analyst knows nothing of the rest of the military personnel. He does know that his fellow C.I.A. agents are from what is euphemistically called the “Triple X Program” by the more traditional employees. This program recruits talented but troubled individuals, usually (disposable) criminals, with skills that the Company wants. One of whom, Whisper is sitting a bit too close by the fire to the number two member of the Medellin Cartel, which was until two days ago a “Shoot on sight” target. But Harp, Aries and Smith have just negotiated a “memorandum of understanding” with Sebastián and everyone is now friends. The village elders give the Team another day here. However, they should be gone at nightfall tomorrow and take Santiago, along with Diego and the rest of the bodyguard to their “Holy Place”. They should arrive there by dawn of the 20th of March. From there Nomad tells the Team that he has promised Captain Price to help him recover his fallen man’s body. Anubis and Whisper have already signed on, but all now volunteer. After this, the Emberá will provide a location for a “secret base in country” for the Team to operate from. At this point Whisper brings up the report of another platoon of Devil’s Cartel soldiers in the area. She suggests they “take care” of this problem before they discover this village. Drawin tells the group that he has spoken to a few groups of hunters who have been killing these interlopers a few at a time. This formally forty man platoon is now a thirty man force. Drawin leads Harp and Whisper to talk with the hunters he spoke to yesterday. The three study the movements of these cartel soldiers as described by the hunters. They learn from the hunters that these invaders are by now all on edge and getting exhausted from the stealthy attacks of this indigenous tribe. The NET Runner sends out her Attack Drone and finds the Devil’s Cartel soldiers mucking about roughly six kilometers south of their current position. Most are armed with AKs but some have Militech SMGs. Their gear is a mix mash of various web gear and equipment that they have put together over the years. There are clearly three men leading the opposition and they are seen conferring over a map and what appears to be some kind of GPS device. The Team decides to attack that night when the cartel soldiers are in camp. In preparation Whisper charts a course through the swamp, but Nomad finds a better route. Nomad wants the Team to march, but Whisper talks the village elders into lending them some canoes and four warriors to guide the strike force. Some of the Team decides to rest before they head out. In the village Anubis continues his work with Marie at the local village “infirmary” to the delight of the villagers and the respect of the elders. His work with this local lady expands his knowledge of local medicinal plants. Later in the afternoon, the strike force assembles with the native hunters at the water’s edge. The three SAS men, Drawin, Nomad, Harp, Whisper, Anubis, God and Romeo will go on this operation. Rover will remain at the village with the SOC-R. The Team heads out in the various native craft and arrive near the enemy as dusk approaches. Whisper sends up her drone for a last recon of the enemy camp. The cartel soldiers are camped on a round peninsula jutting out north from an island in the swamp. There aren’t many trees on this patch of land which measures about 70 meters around. The enemy has placed two small positions with two men apiece on the narrow strip of land facing a possible attack from the rest of the island to the south. Overlooking the expense of swamp to the north, they have seven men positioned about 20 meters apart where they can watch any approach over the water. The rest of the men gather around six or so small fires and go to sleep. This defensive arrangement would work well against the hit and run attacks by the local indigenous tribe, but is wholly inadequate against a highly trained special ops unit. With the long range of the FN-MAG machine gun, Drawin sets up on an island a couple of hundred meters from the enemy camp which puts almost the entire camp in his close range while remaining at medium range for return rifle fire. God sets his sniper post to cover the eastern part of the camp while Price sets up to cover the western part of the camp. Both snipers can also cover the center. The rest of the assault force spreads out in a wide arc to approach in the four to five foot deep reed covered water from the north. Of seven men on perimeter watch none appears to have any night vision gear and cyberware of this nature is (hopefully) rare among cartel troops. Each sentry is assigned an attacker. Starting from the southeast guard position is Nomad. Next, moving north along the shore it is Harp who moves silently through the water, followed by Romeo who is using his silenced assault carbine. Whisper glides through the water to the northern most point on the peninsula, while Anubis is next heading to the post where the land now curves back south on the western side of the land. The SAS has the rest of the western edge as Gaz moves in on next guard position and Soap slides towards the last of the guards. The cartel soldiers in the improvised positions are facing south and away from the assault. All goes well until the assault group gets almost to the land when (final stealth rolls are called for) Anubis trips and face plants in the water taking a point of damage (a botch). The sound isn’t loud, but a couple of guards notice. All the Team has been aiming at their targets on approach and with the first splash of water from Anubis’ fall, the NET Runner whispers into her com, “Firing.” The girl puts a 7.62 round into her assigned guard’s head and holds her second shot for a new target. The guard who saw Anubis’ fall has his head explode as God sends his wrath across the water and kills him. Nomad fires his first round and kills the guard he is approaching, as do both Gaz and Soap. Harp fires twice and wounds his target, but the man is still up. Nomad is watching and drops this guard before he can fire with his second shot. Romeo also fires twice and gets two hits. The man is seriously wounded but still on his feet. Unfortunately, for him he is in Whisper’s sight range and she puts her second shot into Romeo’s man, dropping him into unconsciousness. The Delta Force operator speaks quietly into his com, “Thanks, Whisper.” The girl smiles to herself. After all of the issues between her and Romeo his comment is appreciated. Anubis realizes his weapon now has water in the barrel so he pulls out his handgun, a Czech Vz101, pulls off the barrel cap and screws on a silencer. So far, no one in the camp, who hasn’t been killed, has heard the fight so far. The Team reaches the peninsula. Some pull out their handguns and put on silencers. The snipers, God and Price, put down one man in each of the prepared positions from their sniper nests. Nomad takes out the second man in the eastern position and Whisper does the same to the last man in the western position. The Team begins to sweep through the camp with their silenced weapons. Six enemies wake up. The two are facing the SAS are killed before they can react leaving four to face the Team. Harp fires his Vz101 and hits with one shot but his man doesn’t fall. Romeo botches his shot, but just misses. Whisper sees this and from her angle that cartel soldier and another are close together. She empties half her clip; eight rounds into one and seven rounds into the other. She drops them both. Nomad double taps his target which he drops. Anubis puts two rounds into the man closest to him. He remains awake but will die at the end of the round. Before this guard can cry out, God again intervenes and puts two 7.62 rounds into his brain bucket. Price has Harp’s man covered and drops him with his .300 magnum sniper rifle by blowing the arm clean off. The rest of the sleeping cartel men are killed before they can wake up. With all opposition neutralized, the Team gathers all the fallen arms and equipment. Whisper searches for the three that she saw with the maps. What she finds is a GPS device and mapping equipment. This group seems to have been mapping the area. The whole Team looks at this information. It is clear that these cartel soldiers aren’t the best at map making. The information the Devil’s Cartel collected isn’t very accurate. God and Price come forward with the native guides and the canoes. They pick up the Team along with the collected equipment and paddle off into the darkness back to the Emberá village. Next: Episode 19 – The Holy Place
  6. Here we are, back at it. The Team is either going to be heroes for breaking new diplomatic and political grounds or criminals spending the rest of their lives in Leavenworth, if they can catch us! Episode 17 – Running the River The Team gets to the Rio Leon just after dawn and is surprised by the upgrade in transportation that Aries has provided them. The boat drop has also brought Lieutenant Charles Stuart of the British Royal Marines. Now an SBS special operator, Stuart, call sign: Darwin is there to bring Captain Price’s Team up to full strength. He will transfer officially to Aries’ Misguided Children when Price and his men are withdrawn. Of course, the Devil’s Cartel has an ambush waiting for the Team on the river. Whisper’s drone discovers the ambush site and the cartel soldiers find they have bitten off more than they can chew. They succeed in getting the Emberá heir to the village, but it turns out to be not so safe for the long run. Negotiations are undertaken between the C.I.A., the Medellin Cartel and the Emberá elders. The Team has a little input but most of this is way above their pay grade. Some personal complications arise which may add some problems later on, but on the whole everything works out as a new but albeit shaky alliance is formed in the swamps of the Rio Atrato basin. In the end, Santiago must be moved one more time to secure the cooperation of the Emberá against the Devil’s Cartel. Then Nomad and the rest of the Team will honor Captain Price’s request for help in retrieving his late Team mate’s body, who was killed just a day or two before they all met during the hospital extraction; no one is left behind. Background Most of the world has gone to shit. It hasn’t died in a nuclear conflagration although a few bombs did go off in the Middle East. Global warming has finally melted most of the ice caps and many of the major coastal cities of the world have had to build dikes or move inland. The Wasting Plague has devastated the world population. A cure was finally produced, but billions died before it could be implemented. Western Europe has risen from the ashes and is once again the shining beacon of civilization, but it is drunk with its own power. Instead of helping raise the rest of the world out of darkness, it has used its power to maintain its hold over the economy of the world. China and Japan have recovered to a great degree and stand opposed to any European hegemony. The United States has not fared well. Their constant warfare of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century strained their economy to the breaking point. When international financiers discovered that United States was manipulating international currencies to prop up their bloated debt ridden economy, the world responded with a global embargo which collapsed the American economy. This occurred just as the Wasting Plague hit and led to almost complete societal disintegration. The government was powerless to stop it, so the United States military stepped in. It took almost a decade, but the country was put back together, more or less. The country is still fractured, but slowly recovering, although there are wide areas of lawless land from “sea to polluted sea”. The political situation with our southern neighbors hasn’t improved very much. After two centuries of bullying by the colossus in the north, many South and Central American countries have taken the opportunity to pay back the United States in kind, by supporting America’s enemies who wish to keep this country destabilized. The memory of recent unsuccessful interventions in those southern regions have left not only bad feelings, but human victims are trapped in the ruins of the unsuccessful brush fire wars that were fought to America’s south. These are the issues at hand. Aries’ Misguided Children Lieutenant Arnold Banner – Call Sign: Romeo (Army Delta Force) – Solo 7: This muscular, friendly soldier is the Team’s Heavy Weapons and Demolitions specialist. He is outgoing, always with a joke or some witty quip (at least to his mind). His only personal fault might be that some don’t appreciate his somewhat ‘blue’ sense of humor. He was acquitted of the theft charges and is actually completely innocent. As to his kidnapped girlfriend, Lt. Banner had nothing to do with her disappearance or death. Lieutenant Axel Murphy – Call Sign: Nomad (Navy SEALs) – Solo 6: This young man could be the poster boy for the Navy Seals. His career has been exemplary and as such is the highest ranking member of the Team. While this makes him technically the Team leader, his style is one of consensus on operation tactics. He believes in using each of the members’ unique abilities and perspectives. Lieutenant James Silva – Call Sign: God (Marine Force Recon) – Solo 6: Come from the streets of Boston up in New England. In his neighborhood, you became a crook or a cop …..usually a crook. Instead James went into the Marines. His street reflexes almost ended his Marine career before it begun. He did get in a fight in his first year and severely injured someone. The Marines still saw promise in the young man and kept him in after he did his time. The Corps was right and James Silva has become an excellent sniper and Special Forces operator. Ensign Jamal Hemings – Call Sign: Anubis (Navy SEALs) – Medtech 6: Jamal is the Team Medic and was born in a black working class neighborhood in Detroit in 2042. When Jamal was 15, his younger brother was killed by a cop for “playing with a toy gun while black.” This had a profound—though not immediately obvious—impact on Jamal. When he graduated from high school two years later at age 17, he joined the Navy. While his family is Moslem and his father is devout. His mother is more relaxed about prayer observances. So, Jamal did not learn Arabic, and so cannot read the Koran. As he grew older, he became more respectful of his religion, and has recently resolved to learn Arabic so that he can read the Koran. Lieutenant Charles Stuart – Call Sign: Darwin (Royal Marines / Special Boat Service) – Solo 7: This scion of the old Scottish House of Stuart is on loan from the Special Boat Service and serving as a liaison to British interests in the region. Orphaned in his early youth, Charles grew up in poor circumstances until a mysterious benefactor arranged his attendance at the elite Eaton College. Despite his excellent academic record and ancient lineage (or maybe because of it), he was denied entrance to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He enlisted in the Royal Marines and in eleven years has risen through the ranks to 2nd Lieutenant and a position in the Special Boat Service. He was chosen for this assignment due to his skills and friendship with Lieutenant Axel Murphy with whom he participated in an inter-service training exercise a number of years ago. Sebastián Favala {Phoenix Russell} – Call Sign: Rover (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Panzerboy 7 [Runner4]: This young man is a vehicle savant. He has a gift with almost anything he tries to pilot, but especially with ground vehicles. At nineteen Sebastián is the youngest member of the group although Gabriela is only six months older. Although he is trapped in this job, thanks to his fair treatment by Aries and some subliminal loyalty suggestions implanted during his cyberware therapy from the Agency, he is loyal to his new employers, at least for now. Besides he now has lots and lots of new toys available to amuse him. Gabriela Flores {Suki Barnes} – Call Sign: Whisper (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Spy 7 [interface 3]: This young woman is the Drone/NET operator although she is also cross trained as an intrusion specialist. This tech is also trained in Electronic Warfare. Gabriela’s primary cover Role is as a NET Tech with Crosswire from the RUST Never Sleeps Net Book. Her secondary occupation is a bit more lethal and unknown to the Team. In her mind the C.I.A. has saved her life. She is the “Apt Pupil”. Aries was correct about her needs and this man has filled Suki’s need for a father figure. At present the Agency is her mother and Aries is her father. The NPCs Aries: The Team’s mysterious “shot caller” who seems to have enormous resources and backing along with the support of the C.I.A. and United States government. His “Children” here are just one of the Teams he is handling from his floating operational headquarters aboard the Olympus. He is clearly ex-military and has extensive spycraft training. Captain Price: A British SAS officer leading another team in Colombia. Diego: An older Emberá native and experienced warrior traveling with the refugees who is the personal bodyguard of the young heir, Santiago. Gaz: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. Ghostrider (Lettie): A top notch pilot that works for Aries delivering and picking up his teams when they are in country. Gunny John: A trainer who works for Aries, who is clearly ex or current military. Marie: She is a college educated nurse whose mother is an Emberánative from the village the Team is going to. Mateo Lopez: A high level enforcer of the Medellin and bodyguard to Sebastián Rodriguez who is traveling with the “refugees”. Matias Sanchez: A high level enforcer of the Medellin and bodyguard to Sebastián Rodriguez who is traveling with the “refugees”. Santiago: A young adult who is the heir to the Cacique (the paramount chief or king) of the whole of the Emberá people. The “refugees” traveling with him are in actuality his personal guard. Sebastián Pablo Escobar Rodriguez: He is the great grandson of both Pablo Escobar and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, the two principle founders of the Medellin Drug Cartel and now is the number two leader of that cartel himself! Smith: A mysterious United States government agent, who works with Aries. Whisper saw him in Episode 11 but he was never introduced. Unknown to her he was there to evaluate her for a position in the C.I.A.’s so-called “Triple X Program”. Soap: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. The Action Monday, March 17, 2070: Team is camped about 3 kilometers from the Rio Leon. The Team begins to wake up at 5 am. Nomad looks at the still sleeping Romeo, holds out one of his knives and asks jokingly, “Anyone want to slit Romeo’s throat before he wakes up?” A number of the Team look at Whisper, who stares at the sleeping Delta Force operator before replying, “No, Aries would be upset, if I did that.” After a few jokes about the number of blades the girl carries (four to be exact) they pack up for the short trek to the Rio Leon. Everyone eats and Whisper uses her drone to scout the area around their camp with thermograph before packing it away. Afterwards she hands Santiago the speed loader for the Taurus Javeli she gave him along with her remaining .44 caliber DP ammunition. The girl then leads the Team to the river with God taking up the rear. When they reach the river, she sees a camouflaged boat moored by the bank. As Whisper approaches the craft she hears the bolt of a large weapon chamber a round and a voice with a Scottish brogue say, “I won’t touch that floater there, chief.” She quietly speaks into her com and calls forth Captain Price. Most of the Team notices a man off in the brush with a large light machinegun (SAW) wearing BDUs similar to the SAS troops with them before she tells him, “That’s our boat.” Price comes forward and greets the man. He is British SBS operator, Lieutenant Charles Stuart (call sign: Darwin) and he dropped in with the craft. This is not the large zodiac (or two) the Team was expecting, but a SOC-R (Special Operations Craft – Riverine). The 33+ foot boat has two 7.62 miniguns, two 40mm Auto Grenade Launchers (one of each on either side) and a GAU-19 (a three barreled .50 caliber Gatling gun) mounted rearward. The Team mounts the weapons and gun shields and prepares to head off. Anubis takes the helm and Rover checks the engines. Darwin and Romeo man the mini-guns. Gaz sits on the GAU-19. Nomad and Soap man the 40mm Auto GLs. Whisper steps out of sight and uses her satellite phone and reports to Aries, thank him for the upgrade on the boat and inquire on the Devil’s Cartel phone that he is tracking. The phone hasn’t moved from near the Town of Mutata. She returns to bank and brings out her Microtech Attack Drone. All come aboard and the Anubis gets the SOC-R underway. Whisper drops into her drone and has it fly down the east bank of the river (in the sun) using thermographic vision looking for an ambush. For over an hour they head down the Rio Leon and carefully pass two points where roads cross the river. As they near the last bend in the river that marks the spot where the dry land gives way to a swampy morass, Whisper sees a large collection of heat signatures collecting on each bank in a tactical deployment. There are four groups of five men apiece on each side of the river. She informs the Team and Anubis brings the boat to a stop out of sight around another bend right before the suspected ambush point. There is a road near this spot so Whisper checks it out. There are a number of large trucks parked at the end of this road. The NET Runner puts her drone in hover mode and drops back into reality. She takes off her monocle and connects it to Darwin’s communicator. When she activates it, Darwin can now see the view from the drone and the location of the heat signatures on the bank. The girl drops back into the NET and continues scouting the enemy positions with thermograph and tele-optics. At this point two zodiac style craft appear near the enemy positions and anchor nose to nose blocking passage up the river. Each craft has a 7.62mm machinegun and a crew of three. Diego has Santiago lie on the bottom of the boat and he and his guards protect the young heir by lying on his body to shield him from bullets. Sebastián and his men ready their AK-47s and take places on the sides of the craft between the heavy weapons. Rover, God and Price do the same. Whisper brings her drone north on the river and begins an attack run on the two zodiacs blocking the river. Anubis slams down the throttles and stalls out the boat. He quickly restarts the engines and is under way quickly. Meanwhile, Whisper fires the double grenade launcher on the Microtech Attack Drone. She scores two direct hits. The blast radius from both grenades covers the two zodiacs, killing their crews and shredding the hulls. The delay in starting the SOC-R’s attack run actually works to the Team’s advantage. The ambush team sees their blocking boats explode from an attack from the north and look that way briefly. At that point the Team and their craft come around the bend and both of the 7.62mm mini-guns and 40mm Auto GLs open fire. The grenade launchers walk a barrage down the river banks where the Devil’s Cartel ambushers are trying to hide as the mini-guns shred the rifle teams and their positions that Whisper has marked out. The NET Runner puts the drone in hover when it’s past the ambush, wakes up, grabs her carbine and joins the fight. The SOC-R runs right over the two destroyed zodiacs and the wall of fire of the troops on board shred the ambushers, who only get off a few ineffectual shots before the Team is past them. All of the cartel men are killed or at least wounded. Once safely past the ambush, Whisper recalls her drone, reloads the grenade launchers before packing it away. It has very little flight time left and needs to recharge, but she has no room to set up her solar recharger on their boat with all of the people aboard. The Emberá guide Anubis down the Rio Leon and then to a small side channel that leads to the village. Nomad has their craft stop before they get in sight of the village. He, Sebastián, Diego, Whisper, Anubis, God and Darwin get out and scout the village to make sure that no one got their first. This group sneaks up on the village and everything looks fine. Whisper pulls out her drone and has it do a quick survey with its thermographic sensor. There is nobody hiding in any of the indigenous villagers’ buildings looking like they are preparing an ambush. Diego leads the other six into the village. Since Diego is leading them there is no overt reaction to their presence. The chief bodyguard heads to the council hut and the village elders. Once there he introduces the Team and informs them the “prince” is on the boat and is here seeking asylum. The elders tell him to bring the young man to them and they will give them a decision. Whisper palms her Grid Bug and lets it loose to listen in on their deliberations. When they reach the boat she drops in and listens. The elders are worried as the “devils” have been seen all over this area and the prince wouldn’t be safe. The young man will only be safe if he goes to what they refer to as, “the Holy Place”. Now that the Team feels there is no treachery here, they bring the boat to the village. The elders come out to meet them. They tell the Team that they may stay the night, but have to leave tomorrow. They also wish to speak to Santiago, without the Team present and go into a different hut. Santiago and Diego go and speak to the elders. Whisper retrieves her Grid Bug. The Team is given use of a large hut and Sebastián Rodriguez, who the locals show great respect to, is given his own small hut. Whisper informs the Team of what she learned from “bugging” the elders’ meeting. Sebastián turns and asks Whisper if the Team has a doctor. Anubis is listening but with his poor Spanish only understands one word, doctor. Whisper turns to Anubis and speaks in English to the Team medic, that his services are requested. The Brits are a bit surprised since she has never spoken English before in their presence. From her accent they deduce that she is a local Colombian. Still, she has never taken off her Balaklava, so none of them, or the Colombians, has seen her face. Sebastián asks for Whisper to come with him and translate. There are a number of people who have been shot and others who are sick. Anubis can’t seem to figure out what is wrong with many of them. (Game Note: Anubis critically botched the diagnosis roll. Nomad sends the medic to get some rest with the sleep inducer.) God, Darwin and Whisper change some bandages on the wounded. A couple of hours later Anubis comes back fully rested and begins to effectively diagnose the wound problems. He discovers that many of the sick are suffering from malaria, which he has the medicine to treat. The medic gets down to work and spends most of the rest of the afternoon treating the sick and wounded assisted by God. A woman comes into the hospital and asks Anubis what he is doing. The medic tells her and she says, “Oh, you must be the one Santiago talked about.” This new person introduces herself as Marie. She is the local “doctor” (but is actually just a registered nurse). Her mother is a member of this tribe. After a little questioning, Marie is satisfied that Anubis is a skilled healer. The two begin to work together and Marie shares her local herbal knowledge with Anubis so the two can treat the patients more effectively. With the wounded being taken care of, Whisper asks one of the native women if there is any place she can bath. They take her to a bath house where she sheds her clothes and armor for the first time in days and gets to clean off the accumulated grime with a lotion made from local plants and some gritty sand. It does the trick. Darwin sits back and watches the pace of this village’s life. The natives here are basically hunter/gatherers. The village has a laid back lifestyle. Children are playing; women are preparing food and doing chores in the huts. Groups of hunters go out and return; some come back with small game for local consumption. The Scotsman does talk to the hunters and asks if there are dangerous creatures around. He is warned that there are jaguars and caimans which can kill you along with some large snakes. Most dangerous are the “devils”. Darwin realizes that these are Devil’s Cartel members who are growing more numerous as time goes on. After her bath, Whisper asks if there is someplace she can wash her uniform. The local women give her directions to the place on the river where they do laundry. They warn her that sometimes the men of the village bath there. The NET Runner puts on some pants, a shirt and wraps a bandana around her head to hide her face; brings a washing solution provided by the natives and heads down to the river. There are no local men bathing there, but she walks up and finds a naked Nomad with his gun at ready, cleaning off in the river. The Navy SEAL relaxes and says, “Oh, it’s only you.” The Team leader goes back to cleaning up. Whisper can’t help herself and checks him out. The man also has a large trident tattoo on his back with the words, “God and Country”. She starts to clean her armored clothes and asks Nomad, “So what are we going to do now?” The man responds that he promised Captain Price that he would help him recover his dead former team mate’s body and ads, “You don’t have to go.” The images of the American POWs from the pictures she and her original team discovered north of here (Episode 12) flash through her mind and she says, “I’ll go; no man left behind, right?” This body is located five klicks north of the hospital they found the prince in. As they talk, she notices that her Team leader isn’t really using the cleaning solutions right. She offers to clean his uniform, which Nomad accepts. After they are finished, the two return to the village to set them out to dry. Nomad has a spare set of armored BDUs, but Whisper left her spare set in the safe house in Nuqui. Romeo, Rover, God and the Brits learn about the watering hole and all get baths and wash out their filthy uniforms. That night the village has a huge feast for Santiago and those who brought him to safety. They are all to be seated in a place of honor with the elders. Most everyone wears their armor, but Whisper pulls out a simple flowered dress she carries in her gear. The NET Runner works on her hair and appearance generating a 26 for personal grooming and a 22 for wardrobe and style. She catches Darwin heading to the feast with a “botched” personal grooming roll and fixes his hair. Nomad has no “fashion sense”, but cranks out a “killer” personal grooming roll. When Whisper enters the tented area set up in the center of the village for the feast, the Brits, the villagers and the Medellin members are initially taken aback by her Attractiveness 10. She sits next to Sebastián, who is now more fascinated by her. Over the evening the number two man in the Medellin makes his move on her. He rolls a 21 on his seduction roll (her stability target is base 20). Actually all he had to do was NOT roll a one. Near the end of the feast the two retire to Sebastián’s private hut. (Game Note: We also use seduction rolls for the actual “act” itself and both Sebastián and Whisper rolled critical successes and ended up in the mid-30s. The GM then called for Endurance rolls which were both good. Neither one gets a lot of sleep that night.) Near the end of the feast the elders ask the Team if they would escort Santiago to their most hidden village, which they call ‘the Holy Place”, where they believe he will be safe. All agree immediately to the immense satisfaction of the elders. *** Tuesday, March 18, 2070: Whisper lingers a little in the morning in Sebastián’s private hut and the two talk. It is clear that he thinks she is a fellow Colombian national. He will be leaving today and the NET Runner tells him she hopes she will see him again some time. He smiles and agrees. As she leaves, the man hands her a card with three phone numbers on it. One is a satellite phone and the other two are unlisted cell phones. Sebastián adds, “Don’t lose these.” Whisper puts them away in a sealed plastic bag, smiles and says, “I won’t.” The NET Runner and Sebastián walk outside. She is now barefoot and still in her dress from last night. Sebastián is wearing a pair of brightly colored “banana hammock” underwear. They see Nomad sitting at a fire with Mateo. They are both having a cup of coffee from a pot on the fire. Matias, who is just outside the hut, joins the couple as they head over to the fire for some morning coffee. Nomad looks at the couple and smiles. He says to those around the fire, “Well, I guess we will have our meeting in a half an hour.” In that half hour the rest of the Team gets up. A fast AV-9 piloted by Ghostrider comes in low and lands in the village. Aries, Smith, Gunny John and four combat troops jump out. The troops unload ammo, supplies and more importantly medical supplies for Anubis to treat the villagers. They then take up defensive security positions. Ghostrider lifts off and is gone. There is a flicker of surprise in the shot caller’s eye when he sees Whisper and Sebastián sitting close together by the fire. Aries and Smith walk up and introduce themselves. Aries looks at the cartel leader and says, “You must be Sebastián.” Whisper turns to her new lover and tells him, “This is the man I told you about. He wants to talk to you.” “Ah, OK,” he looks at Aries, “Do you mind if I put on so clothes before we talk?” Aries nods and Sebastián, Matias and Mateo go back into the boss’s hut. Whisper waits until the three are in their hut then looks at Aries and gives him a little smile. Aries chuckles and says quietly, “That’s my girl.” The NET Runner asks, “Did you bring my Blue Scorpion?” The shot caller pulls a box out of his kit bag, hands it to her and says, “What kind of father would I be if I didn’t?” She thanks him then he asks, “So what’s going on?” Whisper tells him that Santiago can’t stay here and they have agreed to take the young man to another safe place. Also, the Devil’s Cartel is increasing its presence in the area. As he can see, the Team has made contact with the Medellin. Aries tells them that he would like to talk to Santiago and the elders. Smith wants to talk with Sebastián and depending on how that conversation goes the cartel leader can then join his discussions with the Emberá. As this is happening, Whisper opens the box, pulls out a small semi-automatic pistol and a thigh holster. The NET Runner hikes up her dress, puts on the holster, slips the six shot magazine in and holsters the weapon. Darwin is watching closely and asks, “What kind of pistol is that and what does it shoot?” Whisper tells him it is a Taurus Blue Scorpion, an 11mm handgun from Brazil. (Game Note: We once did a campaign in Rio de Janeiro set in the 2040’s and increased the number of Taurus guns for the game. This is one of those weapons. It has a small clip, a -1 WA, but it is pocket (P) concealable.) Sebastián, Matias and Mateo come out of their hut and head off with Smith, Gunny John and two of the special operations troops that came in to negotiate the details of an alliance. Whisper then leads Aries, Nomad, Price, Anubis and Darwin to the elders’ hut and knocks. Diego answers and is told that the Team’s over commander wishes to speak with Santiago and the elders. The NET Runner assures the bodyguard that Aries can be trusted. “He (Aries) saved my life”. They are admitted. Santiago speaks to them now on his own and in perfect English. He asks, “What do you want?” Everyone looks at Whisper who is a little stunned that she is supposed to talk. The NET Runner (speaking from the point of view as a fellow Colombian) explains that Aries’ Team is here to defeat the Devil’s Cartel as they are a threat to the United States too. These “Devils” are also threat to the Emberá. Some of the elders don’t completely trust the Team. They do trust the doctor (Anubis), but are not sure if an alliance is in their best interest. When pressed the elders say that if the Team can get Santiago to the safety of their Holy Place, they might consider trusting them further. The elders ask what the Team would expect from them. Whisper answers that they would need intelligence on the Devil’s Cartel movements. At this point Aries steps into the negotiations. His goal would be to establish a forward base to operate in country. The arming and training of an Emberá militia to help defend the tribe and dedicated satellite surveillance for the tribe is discussed and agreed upon, along with more medical supplies for the villages. Darwin asks how many warriors this village has. The elders say about 30, but they are not too well armed. Aries says he can deliver 35x AK-47s tomorrow with ammunition (both standard and AP). Anubis suggests some body armor. Aries has some old surplus SP14 BDUs he can add to that delivery. Santiago tells the group that they can stay another day, but they all must leave by tomorrow evening to take him and his bodyguard to the “Holy Place”. With this additional day, Aries tells the elders he can have the weapons and initial supplies in to them tomorrow. At this point Sebastián, Smith and their people join the meeting with the elders. Whisper smiles at Sebastián who returns it, but the girl notices the man seems a bit disturbed. She is just happy that he is still alive. Smith is a soft spoken man, but even smiling he has an aura of menace that frightens her nonetheless. Sebastián tells the group that the Medellin will supply what they can to the Team. He feels that this new alliance will be for the benefit of his country (Colombia). The meeting continues as they hammer out the details of the plan of action. Next: Episode 18 – Strike Back!
  7. This sounds like a good start to a potentially very fun Cyberpunk Campaign. The area of Kaliningrad is small enough not to need too much of an extensive set-up, but large enough for individuals to remain somewhat anonymous in. The corruption reminds me of a few places I have lived IRL, so the situation has an aura of authenticity to me. A question comes to mind that you have probably already considered: What "power" level do you want to run this at? The advantage of a more "street" game is the action is faster (usually) and the chance for advancement is geared more to the players' own actions rather than moving "chess pieces" around the board as often happens in higher powered campaigns. Also, your PCs and NPCs are usually of a more manageable level. This serves new players well as they can get overwhelmed (and over dependent) on high tech solutions to their problems. For example, I started out our Cyberpunk 2069 group on a map cobbled together from three of the standard Cyberpunk 2020 maps from the core rule book and the Night City Sourcebook (all liberally customized). It took a little work, but each building was numbered and the Team got an abbreviated index of the buildings and people they know about. This gave the players some immediate places to go and things to do. A campaign (the way play it) is usually more than just the "mission de jour". This is a real world and you have to react and play in it. As your game progresses you add to your maps and the world you have created. Starting with a more high powered game needs more prep time in my opinion and you can write yourself into some difficult "plot corners" with too much set "in stone" at the beginning. Also, starting too powerful and geared up doesn't give new players the chance to learn to appreciate the smaller nuances of the game's combat and skill system. Problems can be overcome by immense applications of firepower, but unless you understand the motivations of the other "big dogs", things can degenerate to chaos, mayhem and a campaign collapse quickly. Of course, all of this will depend on the knowledge and maturity of your players. In the end, just make a decision on where you want to start and go with it. You have a great preliminary starting idea here and I will be very interested to see how you develop it.
  8. It is a little sad about your Nomadpunk concept falling by the wayside, but honestly, I think you have a much better idea here; Age of the Jackal is a great name too. I have always liked the timeline of When Gravity Fails and it would make a great start for a new campaign. Our original game which we posted here for years is still going on (now called Space Punk)and has progressed into the 2230's with new characters (often descendants of the older ones) and we have adopted much of the When Gravity Fails tech as our own along with some of the general political situation on Earth. As you know, our new group has struggled a bit with fitting our Cyberpunk 2069 Campaign timeline into the "canon" timeline, but we have just decided we just don't care about that. We are keeping things that work for us, but throwing out what doesn't. You should use a world setting that works for you an your ideas and not be too concerned about a R.Tal official timeline. That is for their game, not necessarily yours. As to your undecided elements of tech: 1) Full borgs take a lot of resources to build and we generally don't use them anyway. I could see you having people (I would use them as NPCs) having put so many limbs and things in their bodies that they are more like "street" borgs, but once you let your players go there too quickly, the game could become a "cyber" race and lose any type of meaningful interactions with non-borgs; or not. 2) ACPAs? In the fragmented world it looks like you are creating, again only major governments would have the resources to make them and why bother. A big enough weapon will turn them into blasted scrap metal and ceramics. Also, bringing everything up to MM standards would be more work than it is worth. Scrap them! 3) Gene-engneering? Yes, absolutely, but again it is rare, expensive and hard to find. Pursuit of such things should be a campaign in and of itself. Much of these things in When Gravity Fails should be readily accessible if your players can afford it. 4) As far as hybrid Moreau type creatures go, you start treading into "the monster of the week" type things. I would stay away from it too. Another thing to consider is world finance. With a mass of small countries with shifting borders, there wouldn't be a stable world currency. This fact will have a direct impact on trade and the ability of countries to acquire materials for high tech borgs, ACPAs and such. Anyway, it sounds like you have some excellent ideas here and I hope you get to run with them.
  9. It has been almost two weeks since I posted an episode, but that is because we have skipped a week in our by-weekly gaming schedule. I had a gig with my band last Saturday afternoon so we didn't game. We will be making up the date by playing two weekends in a row. Before anyone one asks, nobody has ever heard of our band as we are a bunch of old guys who like to jam in the basement and drink a little (sometimes a lot) of beer. Be that as it may. A bunch of local gamers (including many in this campaign) have a yearly meeting in Northeastern Connecticut called Vic Con. It is a backyard gathering of friends with much (mostly) miniature wargaming and a cookout. It also seems to be a good place to find people interested in Cyberpunk as we will have two new players joining us in the next two weeks if things work out as planned. Game-wise the current Team will grow from a six person recon group to an eight person Strike Team. Our GM has informed us that (in our world) the remnants of Great Britain and the United States have decided that they have a common interest in what is happening in Colombia and have decided to work together (very) secretly. Why, you ask? Well, that is way above the player's pay grade so we don't know exactly why (ours is just to do or ..... well, you know). This week we are getting a new player who is playing a SBS (Special Boat Service) operator with an expertise in heavy weapons and small craft handling among other things. The character is Lt. Charles Stuart, call sign Darwin, and he is the scion of a cadet branch of the old Scottish House of Stuart. This should be interesting. For the session in two weeks we have another player joining us as with his character, Sean Flynn, call sign: Harp. This is a C.I.A. operative, who has served as a Colombian analyst for a number years, but has finally had his transfer request to the Special Activities Division approved. In his career Sean briefly served in the Navy SEALs until he was badly wounded and lost in the field. He lived for over six months with the Embera Indians in Chocho Department (where we are operating) and is therefore an expert on the region and its people. His role will be as a Fixer/Negotiator, but the character got there by switching roles from Solo, so Sean Flynn does have good combat skills. Both he and Charles Stuart have a Life Path connection to Axel Murphy (Nomad) to facilitate their integration into the Team. We are looking forward to having these new players join us. They are both long time gamers with a good deal of experience and we've all played together over the years. I must admit I was a little surprised by the number of people that expressed interest in joining our group. Apparently there is an interest in playing Cyberpunk still, so we'll see how it goes!
  10. I have to go with both StrayCatalyst and Mikael here. Denver in Home of the Brave is a transportation hub still for all of the remaining agriculture in the area. With the state government and National Guard it would be safe enough for businesses and industries to remain. Also, I have found a few references to a large Nomad Market there. This is due to Wisdom000's work I believe, but that would mesh quite well with Denver as a transportation hub. This is a great start point for anyone to update and fill out a Cyberpunk: Denver. Find a local map (Goggle is good for that) and then turn it into an urban fortress with a Nomad market on the edge. Make Denver an adventuring "destination". Lots of jobs for Cyberpunks guarding/raiding shipments and a "western" Cyberpunk City that you can and should customize yourself; have fun with it!
  11. On Economic & Currency Issues This is some minor additions we have added to our version of South America in Cyberpunk 2069. While there is still much hostility between the United States and the South American Alliance, another major war is out of the question for the US. They have too many of their own problems to address many resources into a continuing major military effort there. Hence, the US effort is now the C.I.A. Top Secret mission that Aries is running. The current Team is a major part of that, but this Special Access Program appears to be taking a different approach than the massive military interventions of the previous wars. As to the South American Alliance, there is an additional concern of increased EU meddling as European corporations have an increasing need for resources the Euros don't have. The present world economic situation has the euro still the primary medium of exchange in the world. With this they can starve any recalcitrant South American government and/or its people who are totally dependent on the use of the euro. As no single country can float any kind of rival currency, the SAA entered into a currency union with its member states. They issue a currency know as the "Bolivar" (Bs). This serves the internal needs of the member states. Like the United States, the Alliance still used the euro, but the Bolivar allows trade between its member states with little EU interference. The exchange rate is €1 = Bs100 or $1 = Bs200. These Bolivars are somewhat worthless outside of SAA, but are gaining some popularity and acceptance in neighboring countries. What the EU will do about this development is yet unknown.
  12. Things often turn out not to be what they seem! Episode 16 – Complications The Team discovers the identities of the three Medellin Cartel members that they have “rescued”. At first this leads them to think they understand why the Devil’s Cartel attacked the jungle mountain hospital. In fact, the real story is far more complicated and reveals previously unknown relationships between the various power groupings in Colombia. The Team and Aries is forced to reassess their preconceptions of who is the enemy and why. Whether this will result in changes in United States international foreign policy in the region is unclear. Whatever happens, the Team is right at the center of it, for better or worse. Background Most of the world has gone to shit. It hasn’t died in a nuclear conflagration although a few bombs did go off in the Middle East. Global warming has finally melted most of the ice caps and many of the major coastal cities of the world have had to build dikes or move inland. The Wasting Plague has devastated the world population. A cure was finally produced, but billions died before it could be implemented. Western Europe has risen from the ashes and is once again the shining beacon of civilization, but it is drunk with its own power. Instead of helping raise the rest of the world out of darkness, it has used its power to maintain its hold over the economy of the world. China and Japan have recovered to a great degree and stand opposed to any European hegemony. The United States has not fared well. Their constant warfare of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century strained their economy to the breaking point. When international financiers discovered that United States was manipulating international currencies to prop up their bloated debt ridden economy, the world responded with a global embargo which collapsed the American economy. This occurred just as the Wasting Plague hit and led to almost complete societal disintegration. The government was powerless to stop it, so the United States military stepped in. It took almost a decade, but the country was put back together, more or less. The country is still fractured, but slowly recovering, although there are wide areas of lawless land from “sea to polluted sea”. The political situation with our southern neighbors hasn’t improved very much. After two centuries of bullying by the colossus in the north, many South and Central American countries have taken the opportunity to pay back the United States in kind, by supporting America’s enemies who wish to keep this country destabilized. The memory of recent unsuccessful interventions in those southern regions have left not only bad feelings, but human victims are trapped in the ruins of the unsuccessful brush fire wars that were fought to America’s south. These are the issues at hand. Aries’ Misguided Children Lieutenant Arnold Banner – Call Sign: Romeo (Army Delta Force) – Solo 7: This muscular, friendly soldier is the Team’s Heavy Weapons and Demolitions specialist. He is outgoing, always with a joke or some witty quip (at least to his mind). His only personal fault might be that some don’t appreciate his somewhat ‘blue’ sense of humor. He was acquitted of the theft charges and is actually completely innocent. As to his kidnapped girlfriend, Lt. Banner had nothing to do with her disappearance or death. Lieutenant Axel Murphy – Call Sign: Nomad (Navy SEALs) – Solo 6: This young man could be the poster boy for the Navy Seals. His career has been exemplary and as such is the highest ranking member of the Team. While this makes him technically the Team leader, his style is one of consensus on operation tactics. He believes in using each of the members’ unique abilities and perspectives. Lieutenant James Silva – Call Sign: God (Marine Force Recon) – Solo 6: Come from the streets of Boston up in New England. In his neighborhood, you became a crook or a cop …..usually a crook. Instead James went into the Marines. His street reflexes almost ended his Marine career before it begun. He did get in a fight in his first year and severely injured someone. The Marines still saw promise in the young man and kept him in after he did his time. The Corps was right and James Silva has become an excellent sniper and Special Forces operator. Ensign Jamal Hemings – Call Sign: Anubis (Navy SEALs) – Medtech 6: Jamal is the Team Medic and was born in a black working class neighborhood in Detroit in 2042. When Jamal was 15, his younger brother was killed by a cop for “playing with a toy gun while black.” This had a profound—though not immediately obvious—impact on Jamal. When he graduated from high school two years later at age 17, he joined the Navy. While his family is Moslem and his father is devout. His mother is more relaxed about prayer observances. So, Jamal did not learn Arabic, and so cannot read the Koran. As he grew older, he became more respectful of his religion, and has recently resolved to learn Arabic so that he can read the Koran. Sebastián Favala {Phoenix Russell} – Call Sign: Rover (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Panzerboy 7 [Runner4]: This young man is a vehicle savant. He has a gift with almost anything he tries to pilot, but especially with ground vehicles. At nineteen Sebastián is the youngest member of the group although Gabriela is only six months older. Although he is trapped in this job, thanks to his fair treatment by Aries and some subliminal loyalty suggestions implanted during his cyberware therapy from the Agency, he is loyal to his new employers, at least for now. Besides he now has lots and lots of new toys available to amuse him. Gabriela Flores {Suki Barnes} – Call Sign: Whisper (C.I.A. Special Activities Division) – Spy 7 [interface 3]: This young woman is the Drone/NET operator although she is also cross trained as an intrusion specialist. This tech is also trained in Electronic Warfare. Gabriela’s primary cover Role is as a NET Tech with Crosswire from the RUST Never Sleeps Net Book. Her secondary occupation is a bit more lethal and unknown to the Team. In her mind the C.I.A. has saved her life. She is the “Apt Pupil”. Aries was correct about her needs and this man has filled Suki’s need for a father figure. At present the Agency is her mother and Aries is her father. The NPCs Aries: The Team’s mysterious “shot caller” who seems to have enormous resources and backing along with the support of the C.I.A. and United States government. His “Children” here are just one of the Teams he is handling from his floating operational headquarters aboard the Olympus. He is clearly ex-military and has extensive spycraft training. Captain Price: A British SAS officer leading another team in Colombia. Diego: An older Emberá native traveling with the refugees. Dr. Jean Blackwell: A supposed French Canadian physician with Doctors Without Borders, who is actually an American and a top trauma specialist. She is also a C.I.A. asset. Gaz: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. Ghostrider (Lettie): A top notch pilot that works for Aries delivering and picking up his teams when they are in country. Jean: A captain of a small river barge that plies the Rio Sucre. Mateo: A suspected enforcer of the Medellin Cartel, who is traveling with the refugees. Matias: A suspected enforcer of the Medellin Cartel, who is traveling with the refugees. Nicholas: The owner of a small bus company in Dabeiba, Colombia. Sebastián: A suspected member of the Medellin Cartel, who may be someone of importance traveling with the refugees. Santiago: A young adult Emberá native traveling with the refugees. Soap: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. The Action Sunday, March 16, 2070: Whisper wakes up at 10:30 am and calls Aries. He has identified the pictures of the Medellin Cartel members. The one they called Sebastián is Sebastián Pablo Escobar Rodriguez. He is the great grandson of both Pablo Escobar and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, the two principle founders of the Medellin Drug Cartel and now is a major leader in that cartel himself! His two associates are top Medellin enforcers Matias Sanchez and Mateo Lopez. These are probably three of the most dangerous men in Colombia. Aries says he would definitely like to talk to Sebastián Rodriguez. The NET Runner doesn’t think that the two bodyguards will let them pack the drug kingpin up on the next flight out and a couple of “bullets to the brain” might be needed for the two. This is rejected by the Team shotcaller. It seems that Aries wishes to have a conversation about possible cooperation to both sides mutual benefit. She is tasked with broaching this subject to these men. Apparently something is going on that is way above her paygrade! As the camp is stirring and getting breakfast before they head out, Whisper informs Nomad of this new development. The SEAL suggests she take Anubis, their medic, to give her the cover story of checking their wounds, but the NET Runner rejects this. Their medic’s poor Spanish and military bearing could work against any trust which will surely be in short supply at the start of this meeting. Whisper’s training gives her the ability to appear as a local Colombian and she feels this will give her greater credibility when opening this conversation. Nomad approves this, but sends God into the jungle to set up a sniper spot to cover all of the Team in case this goes south. The three cartel members are sitting with the local Emberá natives with whom they appear very friendly. Whisper slings her rifle and approaches the three still wearing her balaclava covering her face. As the girl approaches the two bodyguards focus in on her. She kneels in front of the three outside of knife strike range with her hands visible and open, she nods her head and says quietly, “Con respeto, Señor Sebastián.” The two bodyguards quickly draw handguns. Whisper remains calm and tells the two, “You’ll be dead before I hit the ground. If we wanted to kill you, we would have killed you last night, please.” Sebastián tells his men to put their guns away. The three SAS troopers notice the developing scene, immediately jump up and bring up their assault rifles to bear. Nomad goes to Captain Price and pulls him aside to inform him of what is going on. Whisper asks Sebastián, “Are you aware of the size of the force that is coming to try to kill you? The Drug Lord hides this surprise well, but simply replies, “What?” “Everyone we left at the hospital has been murdered by who we suspect is the Devil’s Cartel. Would you like to see?” Sebastián says yes and Whisper moves closer to him, pulls back her sleeve which covers her arm deck and plays the recording of the slaughter at the hospital on the small view screen. The man looks at the recorded scene, but only betrays a few micro expressions. Finally he says, “So you think they’re after me?” Whisper looks in the man’s face and cocks her head to the side as if to say, really? Sebastián glances over to one of the younger adult Emberá, then back to Whisper and asks again, “Are you sure they are after me?” The NET Runner takes the hint and asks who the young man is. The drug lord suggests she ask him, so she heads over to the young man. As she approaches all the other male Emberá stand up quickly and block her way. This gets both the SAS’s and the Team’s attention and now the natives have weapons trained on them. Whisper calmly speaks in broken Emberá to the natives, “We just saved your lives. Do you really think we would kill you now?” The biggest native in front tells her, “You are not allowed to speak to the ‘prince’. (That seemed to be the best translation from her chip and linguistics roll)” “Then who among you can speak for him?” she asks. At this point this young man steps forward and does speak for himself, “What do you want?” The NET Runner asks, “Why would the Devil’s Cartel be chasing you?” After a little hesitation, the young man explains that he is the eldest son and heir of the Cacique (the paramount chief or king) of the whole of the Emberá people. His father and the tribe have a long standing alliance with the Medellin Cartel. Whisper gets most of this but asks if he could explain in Spanish as her Emberá isn’t that strong. The young ‘prince’ switches to that language and goes on explaining. The tribe helps the cartel move their products throughout the tribal lands (which are extensive in northwest Colombia) and the cartel makes sure that medicines, food and important resources and services that government is supposed to, but doesn’t provide, make it to the natives. The Devil’s Cartel wants to end this cooperation and destroy the unity of the Emberá people, by killing the tribal leaders. A somewhat stunned Whisper mutters, “Well, we can’t allow that.” The young ‘prince’ tells the NET Runner that the Devil’s Cartel attacked the village he was hiding in three days ago. He was meeting with Sebastián at the time and he along with Matias, Mateo and his own bodyguards got them away to the hospital, but not before they were all wounded. Whisper asks where he would like to go. At this point the head bodyguard, who has not stepped aside, tells of a village that they will be safe. Whisper pulls out her map and the two look at it. The village is at least a hundred and thirty kilometers as the crow flies from their current position, but any attempts to get there by road or river could double that distance. The NET Runner asks the bodyguard how he and his four other under armed and wounded men plan to get their charge there with forty armed men chasing them. The head bodyguard tells her that in Dabeiba they have people there where they can drop off the more severely wounded, after that they will improvise. Whisper returns to talk with Sebastián and tells him, “Well, things have gotten a bit more complicated.” Sebastián replies, “Life here is always complicated.” She looks him straight in the eye and tells him, “I remember. The people I am guiding …. What would you like to do?” The drug lord tells her that he promised the ‘prince’s’ father that he would get him to safety and he intends to do just that. She tells him that the people who sent her here have found out who he and his two men are. She admits (lies) that she recognized him and Matias immediately on seeing them and then apologizes to Mateo that she didn’t recognize him. Mateo isn’t insulted and he smiles and tells her that if he was recognized he wouldn’t be doing his job. The upshot is that her “boss” wants to talk to Sebastián. Whisper says she doesn’t believe this “talking” involves a black head bag and perhaps large quantities of water because she would have trouble with that. At this point she is trying to appear conflicted over turning Sebastián in but doesn’t elaborate. She does say that her team leader her is awaiting her recommendation and asks, “What would you like me to say?” Sebastián says, “Let’s talk, it’s not like I have much choice.” Whisper calls over Nomad and tells the two bodyguards, he is a man of honor and can be trusted. The Team Leader comes over with Romeo since he is unaware of what has just transpired. The NET Runner tells her two teammates what has been discussed. She recommends that they help Sebastián and his men to help the young ‘prince’ get safely to his village. She also is concerned that since someone has clearly informed the Devil’s Cartel of the village where he was hiding and then the hospital. It is probable someone in this group of refugees is a spy for that rival cartel. Everyone needs to be searched. The Team, the SAS, the ‘prince’ and the three Cartel members should be deemed ‘clean’. Still Matias and Mateo say they allow themselves to be searched. Nomad and Sebastián continue to talk together and plan their route. Both the Medellin people and the Emberá have people in Dabeiba so they will drop off the three seriously wounded native women there to be taken care of. Whisper supervises the search of the others. The natives are clean, but the head bodyguard who introduces himself as Diego has an old rifle wrapped in his gear. Whisper asks if the prince, who now introduces himself as Santiago, is armed. Diego says no, but he is trained (by Sebastián) to use weapons. The NET Runner pulls out her back-up Taurus Javali (Wild Boar – a snub-nosed 5 shot .44 caliber revolver) and hands it to Diego to give to Santiago, which he does with thanks. The Brits take care of their own as does the Team with Dr. Blackwell, but the remaining four doctors refuse to be searched or give up their satellite phones. Whisper walks up to them, picks out the doctor that looks the most nervous. She then pulls out her Spitfire double-tap pistol, chambers a round and points it right between the eyes of the nervous physical and tells them all, “Drop your fucking phones right now or I will kill you.” There is a brief pause before the four surrender their phones and allow a search. She puts her handgun away and tells them (in a pleasant tone), “Thank you.” The German and Dutch doctors have handguns and they are allowed to keep them. The rest of the Team sweeps bug detectors over everyone’s gear, but nothing is found. Whisper downloads all the numbers found on these phones and makes a file of them. She then heads off out of sight in the woods calls Aries and tells them everything that is happening here along with that they propose to help the Medellin Cartel get the young heir to safety. Also, she sends her boss the file with the recently called phone numbers to be identified. Aries approves all of this and tells her to report in once they solve their transportation problems in Dabeiba. He also confirms the identities of the three SAS operatives. Whisper comes back and now informs both Nomad and Captain Price of her conversation with Aries. Price tells Nomad that their pick up point is right near the Team’s primary extraction point which they will still use to get Dr. Blackwell and four of the others doctors out. The Brits will send their doctor out at their ex-fil point, but will remain with them to help get Santiago home. Ever suspicious Whisper has one more question, “Captain Price, I thought small SAS teams operated in teams of four?” The Brit nods and replies, “Yes, four to six, usually.” Whisper points her finger at each trooper and counts ending on Price, “Uno, dos, tres...” The captain pulls something out of his pocket. It is a chain with a British ‘dog tag’ on it. “We have been in country for a while.” At this Whisper feels ashamed and mumbles, “I am sorry for your man.” The captain nods and puts it away, “So was I.” Whisper then heads up to Sebastián and this time his bodyguards don’t react. She tells him that they will help him get Santiago to his village and then states, “I feel this needs to be said, so, from now on until at least we have returned Santiago to his village, we are now allies?” Sebastián smiles and repeats the old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” She tells him quietly, “You may find that I am not your enemy.” “That is yet to be determined.” To which she tells him (again quietly), “I have a debt and I always pay my debts.” Everyone now heads out down the road on the way to Dabeiba this time led by Rover. He gets a little misdirected (a botch) and they end up on the banks of the Rio Sucre rather than in the jungle along Route 62. Whisper takes over the lead with her Datatel Mapmaker. They will reach Dabeiba a little later than they expected. As they head towards the next town, the consensus is that when they enter there the Devil’s Cartel will know and start to move on the town if they are not already. All agree when they leave Dabeiba, it will also be reported to their pursuers. A ruse is planned to fool the trailing troops. Diego and Sebastián both have contacts in the town. There is a large shallow draft barge that plies the river between the Dabeiba and the City of Riosucre on the Atrato River, its captain Jean is a French ex-pat who sometimes brings gear and important supplies up river to the Emberá villages in this area. He should be in town now, but his schedule is imprecise so they will have to trust to luck. Diego will send one of is men, who will NOT be seen entering town with the rest of the group, to speak to Jean and buy passage for them all. There is also a small bus company there that runs a route up northwest along Route 62. Everyone else will enter the town openly, head to the bus station and take the bus out of town. This will of course be seen by any Devil’s Cartel spies. The trick will be that Jean and the barge will leave first, head down the river a kilometer or two and then wait on the north bank. The bus with the Team, the cartel trio and the Emberá will leave second, drive up the road and meet the barge. The bus will then proceed on its regular route while everyone else will ride on the barge to both the Team’s and the Brit’s extraction points. There they will have the six doctors ex-filled and any supplies they might need dropped off. Neither the SAS nor Aries is able to get an aircraft in that can take everyone. They certainly will not be able to airlift them to the Emberá village without alerting the Colombian Air Force. Even this plan is risky. While they are in Dabeiba, the Team will also be able to leave the three more severely wounded Emberá women at local safehouses. This will increase their cross country speed if and when they have to get off the barge. There are local police in this next town, but over a dozen heavily armed people will easily cow them, so these police are not much of a concern. Diego is now openly carrying his old rifle and the three Medellin Cartel members have unrolled their gear to take out AK-47s (para-models with folding stocks). With the irregular uniforms of the Team and the SAS, the group looks more like cartel troops or rebels rather than foreign operatives. When this group enters the town, Nomad puts the large and impressive Romeo on point with his SAW. The town people scatter and close their doors and windows. When they reach the bus station, Diego walks right in along with Whisper. Nicholas, the owner of the bus company, is clearly nervous at the approach of so many armed men, but relaxes when he sees Diego. Romeo sees one of the company’s buses. He walks up and starts kicking all of the tires in turn. The owner notices the SAW operator and tells the two at the desk, “Will you tell the muscle bound retard to stop kicking my bus, please.” This Whisper is happy to do and yells this exact message at Romeo. She then whispers gleefully to Diego, “Sometimes it’s fun to do what you are told.” They arrange to leave in an hour. A few minutes later, the Emberá native sent to speak to Captain Jean returns with good news. The barge is in town. He was planning to leave tomorrow, but has agreed to leave in about an hour. For once things seem to be going well for the Team. Whisper asks Nicholas if he has a place where she can wait out of sight. The man offers his ramshackle bus garage behind his office. Whisper asks Anubis to come with her and heads there. Inside there is a broken skylight which is perfect for her needs. She unpacks her drone, finds a place to lie down with her back against some 55 gallon drums and sends up her drone. Although she does have a flip switch, she still wants the SEAL medic to watch her body. The NET Runner is going to check the road behind her for pursuit. She feels she has the time to reach where they were camped last night. As the drone starts on its journey, Whisper sees a man in a nearby alley surreptitiously watching their group which is still on the street out in front of the bus station. She uses the drone’s radio link to inform the Team. Romeo and Anubis, who are out of sight of this man, loop around the building and sneak up behind this possible spy. Both of the operators are moving up on the man when they notice that he closes a flip phone and puts it in his pocket. Romeo grapples the man by the neck and tries to choke him into unconsciousness. The man is held, but doesn’t go down. Romeo tells Anubis to grab his phone and continues to choke him. This puts the spy out and Anubis gets his phone. Romeo throws the man over his shoulder and carries him back to the group. There Anubis blindfolds him and ties his hands. A minute later the spy awakens and starts to yell, “Let me go!” Anubis tells him, “Maybe later.” Romeo just punches his lights out with one hit. The Delta Force operator asks the group, “Does anyone want to talk with him?” Matias pulls out his knife and gives Romeo a look. Over the radio Whisper, who has been listening, asks, “What did you get from the phone?” Anubis tells her he hasn’t opened it yet and also that the man won’t talk. Nomad nods to Matias. He and Mateo drag the man into the garage and hang him up on the engine hoist. Romeo enters also and tells the two cartel enforcers, “Don’t worry, I am just here to learn.” Whisper is lying in the corner running the drone, but can see what is going on with her flip switch. Matias and Mateo begin their questioning by breaking the man’s knuckles one by one with a pair of pliers. The sounds get the best of Rover’s curiosity and he enters the garage to watch the “interrogation”. This doesn’t get the spy to talk, so they meticulously begin to skin the man alive. Whisper turns off her flip switch and concentrates on flying her drone. Romeo’s stomach turns at the sight, and loses his “lunch” during the gruesome interrogation. Rover continues to watch with morbid fascination. The Delta Force operator tells the enforcers, “Sorry, it must have been something I ate.” Still, Romeo remains, and at one point steps forward to “help”, but the two Medellin men don’t let him near their victim. Finally, the man spills his guts both figuratively and literally. This doesn’t make Matias stop as he finishes removing the man’s skin. Whisper is able to fly her drone up to where they camped the previous night. There are no signs of pursuit yet. The NET Runner returns the drone to Dabeiba. When she comes out from the NET, there is a flayed man hanging there and the two enforcers are washing away the blood. They tell her that, yes, he is or rather was, working for the Devil’s Cartel. Anubis hears her voice in the garage and tells Whisper that she has the phone. The NET Runner takes no chances and hacks the phone to (hopefully) make sure that any defensive measures on it don’t activate and destroy data or harm her. No, it is a simple flip phone. She takes down the numbers the (late) spy has called recently. They are local cell phone numbers. When informed that this man made a call just before he was taken, Whisper calls the number, but doesn’t let it ring. She traces the transmission to Frontino, Colombia and gauges the signal to be coming from the direction of the hospital. Frontino is the closest town to that now destroyed medical facility. The NET Runner monitors the phone but there is no change until about 15 minutes before they are to leave Dabeiba on the bus. At that point the cell sign gets weaker and quickly disappears out of range. She surmises that the Devil’s Cartel is now on the move and coming their way. The Team heads out on time aboard the bus. About a kilometer outside of town the bus pulls over and lets them out before heading northwest on the regular route. Once out of sight Whisper leads them to the river where the barge is waiting. Everyone gets aboard and begins the trip downstream. Nomad and the three SAS troopers find a place to lie down and immediately fall asleep. Those four have been awake far too long. Romeo goes to the bow of the barge and is about to try his “Titanic” act again, but thinks better of it. Good thing too as Whisper sees him heading there and checks to see how much money she has to bribe Captain Jean to give him a good dunking! Instead the NET Runner asks the captain if there is a cabin where she can be alone for a while. Jean offers his cabin. Whisper calls Aries and gives him an update on how they are traveling. She also gives him the number of the phone of the Devil’s Cartel. Aries uses his orbital satellite access to find their pursuers. This group is racing down the road in a pair of deuce and a half trucks heading for Dabeiba. Whisper comes back on deck and lies down for a bit of a rest, but can’t sleep. Eventually she huddles with Anubis, Sebastián and Diego on their next move. The Brits’ extraction point is across the river from the Team’s first one and about ten kilometers north of the bend in the river near the Town of Mutatá. Many scenarios are discussed over the next couple of hours. They discuss taking the barge out to the Rio Atrato and then through the smaller rivers through the swamps to the north, but that will surely arouse suspicion. Finally Anubis suggests that they get off the barge when the SAS has to go to their ex-fil point and load their doctor aboard their transport to get him out. Then they should move the short distance overland to the smaller Rio Leon and raft down that waterway which goes right to the Emberá heartland and is away from most all roads in the area. They quietly wake up Nomad and Captain Price to inform them of this plan. It is clear that they need to arm the young heir’s bodyguards better than just an old hunting rifle and some blades. With the plan made Whisper heads back to Captain Jean’s cabin to make a call to Aries. Just before she does, the NET Runner sweeps for bugs in the room and finds several listening devices. She realizes if one of the crew is a spy for the Devil’s Cartel then they know the Team is tracking their phone by now. Instead of calling Aries, she returns to the deck, informs Nomad and Captain Price of this development before making her call quietly in an isolated corner of the deck. The NET Runner confesses her lapse in operational security and tells Aries that the number he is following may be compromised and they know they are being tracked through it. She also requests six AK-74s and ammunition for the Emberá along with Nomad’s request for six sleep inducers for the Team. Being sure she can speak without being overheard, she tells them the Team’s plan and also requests a pair of zodiacs to get down the Rio Leon. Aries says he will do his best to get that gear and they settle on a time for Ghostrider to pick up five of the doctors. The timing will be tight. Now Whisper goes back to Captain Jean’s cabin and makes another call to Aries. She repeats one of their rejected plans that they will be heading down the river to the City of Riosucio and move up along on the Rio Atrato to the Emberá heartland. Hopefully this will start the Devil’s Cartel in the wrong direction until they all depart the barge to head to the Brits’ pick-up point. At about 10:45 pm the barge reaches the spot where some of the Team must get off to bring Dr. Jean Blackwell and four of her colleagues to the extraction point. It is barely a kilometer from the river and Ghostrider is right on time. The human cargo is quickly loaded and the weapons along with the sleep inducers are off loaded. There are no zodiacs in the gear. Ghostrider tells them that a water transport will be dropped on the Rio Leon just around dawn. Don’t be late. The Team heads back to the barge and they are underway at about midnight for the short trip to the SAS extraction point. *** Monday, March 17, 2070: It takes only about 45 minutes to reach the next drop off point where the SAS and their doctor are to disembark. Instead, everyone gets off the boat and they send Captain Jean and his two man crew on their way to City of Riosucio. If the captain or more likely, one of his crew are informing the Devil’s Cartel of their progress, then their pursuers will soon know the Team has changed their plans again. Whisper is still not convinced that they have been compromised from within, but now all but one doctor is gone and they shall soon be rid of him. The SAS troopers will continue on with the Team, the cartel men and the Emberá to the safety of the village in the north. At the SAS extraction point a highly modified BA Westland Wyvern swoops in and picks up the British doctor. This completes the original mission. However, this has now turned into a much bigger assignment. Coming to an “understanding” or maybe even an outright alliance with the Medellin Cartel and earning the trust of a major indigenous population who have suffered greatly in the last couple of South Am Wars could change the entire geopolitical situation in the Americas. This ad hoc group pushes an hour or so father toward the Rio Leon before bedding down for the night. Those who mostly slept on the barge stay awake. Those on the Team who are tired use their new sleep inducers. Nomad and Sebastián sit down together and talk. Trust between these two seems to be developing. Whisper uses her satellite phone to contact Aries and report their success. The Team shotcaller informs her that the cell phone that he is tracking has stopped just north of the Town of Mutatá and hasn’t moved. She estimates that is 20 to 25 kilometers from their position through thick jungle and swamp. Nothing to be done now except get a little sleep before getting up and making a mad river dash to the (hopeful) safety of the Emberá village in the north. Next: Episode 17 – Running the River
  13. OK, here is a second draft of our proposed entry for what is happening in Colombia in 2069. As you can see we are leaving in the Third South Am War from the Conflict Sourcebook although we might toy with the outcome a bit more. Over the years relations with North America hasn't gotten much better. The Narco gangs still make strikes against the United States, and still faces opposition from the Federal government. We have introduced a Fourth South Am War which is detailed in this, but the struggle was smaller and less conclusive than the previous ones. The United States is seeking a new relationship with these countries, but the hostility generated by almost two centuries of "Yankee Imperialism". Republic of Colombia in 2069 Population: 55,756,238 Literacy Rate: 68% Military: 125,000 (National Military Forces) 75,000 (various Cartel Forces) 20,000 (equally divided between ETN and FARC) 12,000 (various indigenous liberation forces) 8,000 (various small right wing militias) Languages: Colombian Spanish plus over 60 recognized local languages Ethnic Groups: White and Mestizo – 86% Afro-Colombian (includes Mixed) – 10.6% American Indian – 3.4% Roma – 0.01% Neighboring Countries: Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil Description: The Republic of Colombia is at a crossroads in its existence. After years of total dominance by various Drug Cartels acting like their own governments, many in the country are tired of the violence and intimidation. The old South American Alliance is collapsing as it has become a mere off shoot of various criminal drug gangs. Now only Haiti, Northern Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela (in name only), Chile and Guatemala remain in this old political/military grouping. The Fourth South Am War (2052 to 2059) has led to this disintegration. The Islas De La Sangre was the first to fall just after the Third South Am War. It was nothing more than a pirate confederation that quickly fell to infighting. With populations on the rebound and no air or space forces to speak of, its ships were no match for both US and Euro interdiction as these “pirates” turned on their European benefactors after that last war. The recent Fourth South Am War was instigated by the cartel influenced national Colombian government in an attempt to regain Panama as part of a Greater Colombia, which they hoped would bolster their sagging popularity due to their failure to bring prosperity to most of the population. While there was some actions in Atlantico and Nicaragua most of the fighting was centered in Panama and northern Colombia with some guerilla actions in Venezuela. Haiti and Chile only gave lip service and a few volunteers to the effort and as such suffered no action by the still potent United States military. Haiti took this action since it is still desperately poor and received none of the promised support from their old Alliance when they attempted to rebuild after the collapse of the 2020s and 30s. Chile is attempting to follow the Brazilian model and match that countries rise from regional power to a player on the world stage. A renewed war wasn’t part of that plan. The end of that war saw the United States again thrown out of northern South America, but Colombia failed to take Panama. This was because the Panamanian people decided that they preferred the stability and hands-off approach of United States’ towards them in managing and defending the canal to falling under the sway of the cartel corrupt Colombian government. There is even a growing movement to apply for statehood in the country. Bolivia contributed troops and money to the Fourth South Am War, and were very dissatisfied by the outcome. After the end of that recent conflict many remained in Colombia sensing weakness in the native cartels and seeing an opportunity to expand their influence. After the Third South Am War, Bolivia attempted to suppress coca production to get out from under the crosshairs of the United States military. This led to widespread hardship for the native farmers and a feeling of betrayal amongst the national military. There was a coup and the new military dominated government legalized coca production. With the proliferation of new designer drugs, cocaine’s value dropped. The development of resistant strains of the coca plant helped a little, but the money that did come in didn’t go to help the people as much as hoped. The military dominated government nationalized its production. Under government protection profits rose and the new masters in La Paz funneled these funds into public works projects and raised the overall standard of living in the country for all the people. This led to the creation of Devil’s Catel. Many of the Bolivian Special Forces units had remained in Colombia after the recent fighting to “defend against further United States aggression” that never materialized. In reality they entered the drug business in direct competition with the established Medellin, Cali and North Coast Cartels. The Devil’s Catel has actively sought to absorb small local Colombia drug groups who were being squeezed out by the Big Three with promises of a greater “slice of the pie” and their vision of their new “Narco State” that will make those who have spent years exploiting this continent’s resources and people pay for their actions. The war had an effect on the people of Colombia too. They suffered the most in the fighting. The United States military kept most of its people in check and although there were reports of some atrocities, most were committed by cartel soldiers and other South Am volunteers. Again European support was key in keeping Colombia in the war, but the cost in loans and loss of national resources to the Euros to pay for the help has angered the people of Colombia. The war also has led to a small reformation of the Colombian national government. Colombian patriots and the descendants of those older cartel families who had become the new governmental class began to realize that their country would forever be an exploited backwater unless they pulled their homeland away from its recent criminal past and returned to its days as a vibrant “democratic” state. The Fourth South Am War led to the resurgence of the Colombian National Army, which all parties found necessary to keep the rival Cartel troops from turning on each other. In the eleven years since the end of the war this has led to the current military/political situation in Colombia. The Colombian National Government Although they are still not the dominant power in the country, their role as referee between the rival cartels has made them a continuing necessity. The growing native Colombian corporations support them as they act as a buffer that keeps the depredations of the cartels and various foreign corporations at bay. Also, since the joining of the various Colombian railroad concessions into one integrated system, its protection has become the responsibility of the central government and is the prime function of the national military. It is now possible to ship goods from the Caribbean Sea to the City of Buenaventura on the Pacific Coast. The rail lines now service the capital of Bogota, Medellin and Cali. The only major city not connected to this system is Cartagena, the HQ of the North Coast Cartel, which annoys this group no end, but two other port cities under their dominance on the Caribbean Sea are part of new system. Although the government still supports the anti-American position of the various powerful cartels, there is a growing movement that feels this continuing hostility between the two nations has ceased to serve Colombian national interests. The Colombian National Army maintains bases throughout the country, but usually doesn’t interfere in cartel business. They keep commercial traffic moving on roads between the major cities and with the help of the small Colombian Air Force keep the rail lines open. The army is fairly well-equipped and trained. The air force has a small number of attack and transport helicopters along with small transport and reconnaissance aircraft. The Colombian Navy has a small group of patrol vessels to protect both the Pacific and Caribbean coast and some old riverine forces to patrol their many navigable rivers. The Cartels Medellin Cartel This is the oldest and most well established. While this group is still capable of much violence, they have diversified into many legitimate businesses. Its leaders are more likely holders of MBAs from universities rather than gun thugs who have risen in the ranks by murder and kidnapping. In fact recent intelligence believes that they have officially given up kidnapping both foreign and domestic as it has hurt their abilities to compete in businesses that they have diversified into. They control a great deal of the tourist and service industries in central Colombia and on the northern part of the Pacific coast (Chocó Department), which has become a popular local and international destination. This cartel still maintains the largest private military in the country and still launch guerilla attacks in the United States, but not very often. Cali Cartel This is the second of the “old guard” drug groups. They maintain better relations with the old South Am Alliance and an uneasy peace with their counterparts in Medellin. This group has set their eyes across the Pacific and moves much of their illegal product, not to the United States, but to countries on the other side of the Pac Rim. They have made many friends and enemies with Yakuza, Triad and other Southeast Asian criminal organizations. They control service and tourist industries on the southern Pacific coast. Their headquarters is, of course, in the City of Cali, but the port city of Buenaventura is very important to their operations. Unfortunately for them, that city is a hotly contested war zone between them, the Devil’s Catel, a resurgent FARC, a number of indigenous rebel groups and smaller drug gangs; not to mention foreign mercenaries in the pay of various unscrupulous corporations. They depend on government forces to keep the rail line and port facilities operation although their forces are just a hair smaller than their Medellin counterparts to the north. Buenaventura is a violent, rather modern Cyberpunk city. North Coast Cartel They are slightly newer than the previous two and centered mostly on the Caribbean coast and the very northern part of the Chocó Department. In the contested swamplands along the northern part of Rio Atrato, they are challenged militarily by local indigenous rebel groups who they accuse of having United States support, but these charges remain unproven. They also have to deal with units of the leftist ETN and continuing major encroachments of the Devil’s Catel. On the Caribbean coast the ETN is also a problem there for North Coasters along with right wing militias who are also accused of taking support from the “imperialist Yankee dogs”. The North Coast Cartel are the most active in their importation of designer drugs to North America and not only sponsor terrorist attacks in the United States, but often use their own troops to carry them out with the help of various European persons and corporations. Their forces are smaller than the two previously described cartels, but still rather numerous. Devil’s Catel This group is led by, but not exclusively made up of, former Bolivian Special Forces troops that have moved into Colombia to challenge the previously described Big Three. The Devil’s Catel is nothing more than an arm of the new overt crime syndicate that took control of the Bolivian government a number of years after the Third South Am War. While this group has the smallest cartel military, their troops are probably the best armed and trained. They are also by far the most cruel and vicious of the four. They operate in all parts of the country except Amazonia where an alliance of FARC and a number of indigenous rebel groups have driven them out. They are actively engaged against the three previously mentioned cartel groups, who they view as weak. There have been increasing clashes with the Cali group in the City of Buenaventura and with the Medellin Cartel around that central major city. While clashes with the North Coast Cartel have not been as numerous, most believe it is only a matter of time before they also increase. The Devil’s Catel is also opposed to the current Colombian government, but do not seem to act against it or the rail lines that now crisscross the country. It is believed the reason for this is the government’s policy of not looking to closely at shipments sent on the national rail. As all the cartels are now dependent on these rail lines for supply, none are willing to sabotage their own supply networks. Other Drug Gangs These are smaller criminal gangs that operate usually in urban areas or just outside them. They are poorly armed and usually addicted to whatever they are selling. One might describe them as “militant ‘dorphers”. They are ruthlessly suppressed in Bogota, Medellin and Cali. The North Coast Cartel has trouble with them in Cartagena and the cities on the Caribbean coast they control, but work to keep them down. Only in Buenaventura on the Pacific coast do they seem to take root in the barrios of that city. This predominantly Afro-Colombian city resents their Cali Cartel masters and the government forces there see these small groups as a way to keep that cartel in check. It is rumored that the Devil’s Catel has been playing on this in their recruiting drive to increase their numbers among the locals in their bid for dominance over the Big Three. Rebel Groups FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) This is the granddaddy of all the Colombian rebels. They are over one hundred years old and are still a strong force in the southern parts of Colombia and Amazonia. A peace agreement at the turn of the century almost ended them, but holdouts kept the movement alive. With the advent of the South Am Wars, they returned to prominence, but the rise of the Cartel militaries has kept them from regaining all their former strength. ETN (National Liberation Army) As much of their military strength of this leftist group resides in the north of Colombia, this group took quite a pounding in the Fourth South Am War. They are actively opposed to the new Colombian government and its resurgent army and are the only group that still attacks the national rail system. This has made them extremely unpopular with all the other groups in the country and many of the common people who depend on the rail’s services. These attacks have dropped off dramatically of late. Indigenous Rebel Groups There are a number of these poorly armed militias whose purpose is to defend the various tribal people against the depredations of corporate and cartel troops. They are known to accept help from any that they believe will help their cause, but are very wary of foreigners. All of these groups are tiny and poorly armed. Right Wing Militias While these groups used to wield a lot of power many years ago, their support of the United States interventions and murders committed on behalf of the old capitalist ruling class have turned them into no better than a lot of the smaller drug gangs. They are often better armed than their rivals and operate mostly along the north coast of Colombia and in Amazonia where they are paid by foreign corporate interests. They are NOT popular with the locals where they operate, but use terror to keep these people in line. Religious Groups The Catholic Church While freedom of religion has been guaranteed since the 1990’s most of the country is nominally Roman Catholic, but church attendance had plummeted up until the Fourth South Am. There has been a rise in church attendance after the war as the people sought solace there. Church leaders who have traditional remained out of politics from the turn of the century have come in strongly in support of the new government. They do not, however, criticize the cartels directly. In areas of the country side younger priests have become more vocal against corporate exploitation of the indigenous population and some are beginning to espouse philosophies similar to 20th century “Liberation Theology”. Unlike in earlier times, the church leadership hasn’t denounced this trend. In certain areas of the country groups of well-armed and trained soldiers have appeared to violently resist both corporate and cartel exploitation (usually the Devil’s Catel) of the natives. Although no one knows where the funding for this is coming from, people are beginning to suspect this is connected to the world-wide rise in a militant arm of the Catholic Church. The Protestant Church Protestantism is the second largest religious grouping and just before the turn of the century the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists were the fasting growing sect of this branch of Christianity. Since these two sects were based in the United States, they have suffered serious losses in membership during this century. Islam The tiny Muslim community in Colombia has always kept out of politics and continues to exist. Indigenous Beliefs There are pockets of old traditional Amerindian religions in the southern Andres and Amazonia. The Andean population has been very quiet, but there has been a rising militant movement among the Amazonian natives. Well, this is what we have so far. Our current GM is reviewing it so it is not canon in our timeline yet. I put it here for comment and ideas anyone has.
  14. Yes, as far as Japanese descended presidents in South America you must be thinking of Alberto Fujimori, the first president of Japanese origins, who was elected in 1990 and re-elected in 1995 in Peru. Unfortunately in his second term his administration was rocked with scandal and charges of corruption. While Peru has always hosted a relatively large Japanese descended population, this country has a long record of anti-Japanese discrimination. During the Second World War, all Nikkei newspapers were closed; many businesses seized and important members of the community were stripped of their citizenship and deported. Since then during economic downturns this community has been scapegoated by various Peruvian government. All of this despite (or maybe because) the Peruvian-Japanese are one of the largest Nikkei communities in the world and the second largest in Latin America. While the election of President Alberto Fujimori may seem like a step forward, it is important to note that he was forced to resign while on a visit to Japan. The new Peruvian government pursued him legally for many years over his alleged crimes. Eventually Chile deported him back to Peru where he was convicted of these various "crimes" and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He is still in jail today! Back to Colombia, it is possible that our group may be sent to the City of Buenaventura, which is the only deep water Pacific port in that country. It is, at present (IRL), quite the violent city where drug gangs, corporations, militias and the government fight for control. Things have reported gotten a little better of late, which would not be the case in a Cyberpunk Campaign. That said this city would be a fertile ground for Japanese, Chinese and other Pac Rim corporations to fight it out with local cartels, militias and other South Am corporations. We will see if our GM takes us there. As to the Catholic Church, I do believe it still would have a strong presence in Central and South America. So far, the only church encounters we have had are priests (and a lot of them) traveling in the area and walking by us when we are trying to hide. I do believe our GM is setting them up as a test to what we will do if they ever see us. There is a rich mine of stories here with the church being involved with both its sometimes blind support for repressive governments and also the popular “liberation theology” espoused by many priests in the Catholic Church. In our previous campaigns we have dealt with the rise of a “Church Militant” especially in our Super Solo Campaign, a High End 2027 Campaign which is (presently) on page 9 of the Cyberpunk RPG General Chat. In those sessions the Church initiated a world-wide program to wipe out all bio-genetic constructs (of which my character at the time was one); but I digress. The idea of the Catholic Church taking a pro-active role in the social and political situation in Colombia is a very worthwhile idea and I will suggest it to our GM, if he hasn’t read this post. The idea of the church using Black Ops teams is interesting (and frightening). As I stated before, one of our previous GMs spent a good part of one campaign trying to hunt my Player Character down. It was personally frightening. This said, having the church take this “liberation theology” to a Cyberpunk level and hiring mercenaries and “true believers” to defend the people against marauding corporations and foreign operators (like our Team) would be an interesting sub plot. All in all, these are rich story veins to mine in our current campaign. Although it wasn’t my intention to any kind of source book, it seems a “source pamphlet” of sorts might be a good idea. I’ll speak to our GM and see what he thinks, and try to get him to sign up on this site to contribute.
  15. Yes, indeed on page 34 of The Pac Rim Sourcebook, in section #1 of a Japanese character creation there is the reference to Japanese characters born in South America. I will have to run this by our GM. He might want to do something with this. Thanks for pointing this out!
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