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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!
  16. Yes, yes, you have some very good points here and we have considered some with one being more of laziness on my part in the explanation. I pointed this out to our GM on game day, but he said he had it covered. As my character is a new C.I.A. operative, I have asked if my character would know about the size of a SAS unit in the field. I haven't got an answer back yet. I do think that the experienced military characters would know this. Nomad our Team leader had a private conversation with Captain Price and we are not privy to that. All the same my character is on the look out for a fourth SAS man. They might not be who they claim to be, but for now, we are just all running for our lives. Well, this is my lazy part of the narrative, sorry it was getting late the night I wrote it and wanted to get to bed. The one SAS(?) man was wearing less of a patch and more of a 'non-official' pin/insignia of an operation by the SAS which is why the GM set a very high DC for identifying it and only one of our team did. I think that may be since Whisper lined up a double grenade shot from her drone on who turned out to be that group's CO, Captain Price. Since "lighting up" the six peasants the day before and coolly putting 19x2" rockets into the hacienda at the drug plantation outside Nuqui which killed the drug lord's six children, my character is now considered quite the soulless killer, by many on the Team. I think the GM may have thrown that in so I wouldn't blow Captain Price into tiny pieces. Some of us who are playing are beginning to think that these three might have some future role to play in the overarching tale the GM is weaving. Who knows? Oh yes, my character's initial reaction on learning who they are is to "dispose" of the solo/bodyguards (hmm, maybe I am a bloodthirsty bitch after all), "black bag" their charge and take him back to the Olympus and on to a "black site". When (and if) we wake up after our brief rest, I will be reporting to Aries and I am sure he will have identified them by that time. What happens after that will depend on orders. However, I have been thinking (always a bad sign), Whisper has another backstopped identity with her Spy package. That is as a free lance South American operative who works with various cartels. Freeing the cartel V.I.P. and becoming an undercover operative for the Medellin Cartel might be an option. It will probably get my character killed (horribly), but if it works, oh that would really give us an advantage. Just a (very dangerous) thought. We will see what happens next episode.
  17. No, I haven't forgotten about Brazil and Argentina. We have a great deal of information on a Cyberpunk Brazil as we did 1/3 of our Burn Notice Campaign (which is recorded here on Views from the Edge). Our date was 2045 about, and used rules and characters from our long running campaign string, so this didn't happen in the "world" as we play it now. I totally agree that Brazil would be a regional power and perhaps even more so. In our Space Punk Campaign, which is set a couple of centuries in the future it is a world Super Power. Well, as much as one can be in a world that is rising from the ashes. We haven't given a lot of thought to Argentina yet, but I do see that country as a rising regional power at least, that has climbed pretty much out of the collapse after the Fourth Corporate War. As for Uruguay, they have always been a more stable country. Right now, we are concentrating on Countries adjacent to Colombia. As we are playing it, Panama is in the United States camp. The former Canal Independent Military Force had become more Panamanian as the years went by and intermarriage smoothed relations between the locals and the "occupying" forces. Colombia has never given up getting back Panama which they consider a province of Colombia, which it once was. This has driven many Panamanians into the arms of the United States. Still, there is a small rebel force in Panama working to expel the North Americans. Venezuela is a country that we need to give some serious thought to. This is a rich and vibrant country that could go either way. Right now (IRL) they have an incompetent Marxist dictator more interested in maintaining his personal power base than bringing his country out of the mess its in. Of course, with the history of the United States backing murderous coups there, President Maduro's distrust is completely understandable. Our current GM and I have decided we will deal with their current situation in a couple of weeks for our story line. Former British Guyana is going to remain a peaceful. laid back country. Suriname will also be that way. Both countries will be very suspicious of the French who remain in control of French Guyana since they have a major space port there and a lot of military training facilities. As to the other Pacific nations (Peru, Ecuador and Chile), we haven't decided on them. Paraguay is still undecided. Due to a bunch of research in the past from our previous campaign, I am tempted to give this nation a brighter future than most post apocalyptic games give her. As far as Bolivia is concerned, our current GM has ideas there and hasn't informed us. The Devil's Cartel which is a major player in our current campaign is made up of former (rogue) Bolivian Special Forces people. They are the force currently chasing our new Team. We suspect they are after the three wounded Medellin Cartel members moving with our group. I was hoping that the Cyberpunk Red Kickstarter would have more information, but that was not the case. Although the game looks fun, I don't believe they will be going into the world situation very soon, so we may have to come up with our own material. That said, the breakaway province, now country of Atlantico from Conflict South Am I think we will keep. I guess we should come up with updated information for all of this and we might yet do that. For now, our Team on the ground is only concerned with the immediate situation in Colombia. If we are going to start putting together some kind of source book, it will have to concentrate on Colombia and the adjacent countries. Who knows how long our Team will be there, or if we will even survive. As to the general situation, now that the United States is in no position to launch any large scale military actions in Central and South American and hasn't been able to for a while, the countries down there will, I believe, be more interested in lessening the power of the Euro Corps. The Chinese will now be back and a useful tool to counter balance Euro influence. As to how this works out, we will see.
  18. Again the Team heads into Colombia. This time the mission is a rescue, but at what cost? Episode 15 – An Emergency Extraction Apparently there is no rest for the wicked. The Team is allowed eight hours of sleep before being summoned to a briefing for an emergency extraction of an undercover C.I.A. asset trapped in virtual open warfare between the Medellin and Devil’s Cartel. It is a straight forward get in and get out quickly assignment. Of course, things are generally more complicated than they seem at first glance. Moral choices must be made and sometimes, in the heat of battle, these choices aren’t so clear on the ground. 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. 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. Soap: A British SAS trooper on assignment in Colombia. The Action Thursday, March 13, 2070: That afternoon the Team awakes after a nice long rest. Nomad, Anubis, God and Sebastián head down for a hearty breakfast. Whisper heads to the gym for her morning exercise but finds Romeo has arrived first and is doing his PT. She doesn’t even enter the room and heads back to her quarters for a hot shower. While engaging in their various morning routines the Team is notified that there is an emergency briefing, right now! They all immediately head to the Ops Center. Nomad and Anubis bring their coffee with them. Whisper is still drying her hair. Aries tells them that they have a mission that needs their immediate attention. There is a hospital in the Colombian Department of Antioquia, which is just east of the Department of Chocó, in the foothills of the Cordillera Occidental mountain range of the Colombian Andes. It is staffed by six physicians from Doctors Without Borders. It has come to the agency’s attention that they are under threat and should be withdrawn immediately. Five of them are from European Countries (2 are French, 1 is British, 1 Dutch and 1 German). The last one is supposedly French Canadian, but is actually American. Her name is Jean Blackwell, a top trauma doctor and is a C.I.A. asset. This hospital has been treating the local indigenous population that has been caught in the fighting between the Medellin Cartel and the Devil’s Cartel. The two cartels are engaged in heavy fighting in the area. The Team is to go in, extract Dr. Blackwell, who is willing, and the other five doctors if they want to go. The Team will HALO jump in a few kilometers east of the town of Pavarandocito just before midnight tonight and move up Route 62 (a small and only occasionally paved road) to the hospital. This route follows the Rio Sucio up into the mountains. It will be a two to three day march. When they reach the hospital and find Dr. Blackwell, they will head back down the river where there will be three pick up points they can use depending on enemy activity and time. If they miss these then they will have to march to Panama to exfill. Romeo will be carrying a SAW this time. Nomad will take off the under barrel grenade launcher and install the fore grip. To compensate for this loss of firepower he draws an old M-79 grenade launcher from the ship’s armory. Whisper chooses a Microtech Attack drone, a Heavy LAW and a selection of hand grenades in addition to keeping the Grid Bug in addition to her H&K 418 assault rifle and Spitfire Doubletap. Everyone else is bringing their standard load out. The Team retires to their quarters to prepare for the mission. Whisper gives Aries a list of things (mostly Compu Mods) that she wants and will pay for any that he can’t supply from his budget. Their vessel, the Olympus, reaches Panama and the Team is transferred to an airfield where they board a ‘civilian’ transport plane that is taking a cargo south. This plane will fly over the drop point on its way to its destination. About 11pm the Team jumps over Pavarandocito, Colombia and all safely land. They discuss going into the nearby town and buying a boat. Whisper points out that really only her or Sebastián could enter the town and blend with the locals. Nomad pulls out a shrink wrapped bundle of Euros and looks at the girl. Whisper suppresses a grin and says, “I’m not a hooker, you know.” This does draw a smile from Nomad. Romeo offers to go into town with the girl so, “he can get to know her better.” “Never gonna happen,” is the reply and she walks away. Romeo turns to Nomad and tells him quietly, “I tell you, I am this close.” Nomad says, “No, I don’t think so.” They decide that they will go with their original plan and head to the hospital on foot. Led by Whisper with her Datatel Mapmaker with Navstar, they begin the march to Route 62 and the jungle hospital. *** Friday, March 14, 2070: The Team reaches Route 62 and moves down the road for the rest of the night and throughout the day avoiding the Town of Mutata. They see no one for most of the day, but as they are approaching the Town of Dabeiba, Whisper sees six peasants coming down the road probably from the town. She signals the Team and they all fade into the brush. The six go past the NET Runner oblivious to her, but as they go past the rest, two of them spot a squad member (Anubis). (Game Note: Although the SEAL medic rolled a 19 on his stealth, three of the civilians rolled 10s on Awareness and two of them followed that with a pair of additional 7s. Sometimes the NPCs get lucky, or in this case unlucky.) Whisper notes that her squad mates have been seen. She has a good angle on the group and empties 30 silenced 7.62mm rounds into the six people; 5 rounds apiece. The NET Runner botches her shot on the fourth man (just a miss) which ends her fire. Still, she kills the three she hits. Nomad double taps a forth civilian. God is tracking that group as they approach and makes two head shots on the remaining pair. It is quick and quiet. “Hide the bodies,” Nomad orders. Whisper ads, “Throw them in the river.” The Team takes them down to the nearby Rio Sucio. Whisper starts to strip them of their little cash and valuables. Nomad tells her, “Stop, we don’t need their petty cash.” Whisper replies, “I don’t care about the money, but when the bodies are found it will look like a robbery gone bad.” Some of the Team isn’t happy about this, but Nomad sighs and says, “She’s right.” Romeo adds, “Well, if this is going to look like criminals then we should pull down their pants and make it look like they were raped.” Both Whisper’s and Anubis’ eyes flare open in anger as the medic mutters, “Sick!” The NET Runner slaps a new magazine in her rifle and chambers a round. Nomad sees this and tells Whisper, “No!” “No what?” she replies and walks away. As they are now close to Dabeiba, and have a few hours of sunlight left. The Team loops around the town and finds a place to rest for the night. Later during second shift a priest goes where they are camped, but doesn’t notice the group all hunkered down in the brush. *** Saturday, March 15, 2070: In the morning the Team decides to go into Dabeiba to get a boat for the rest of the trip. Nomad has Whisper fly her Attack Drone to survey the town. She brings her drone out of the sun and spies a twelve person launch at a dock on the river. Nomad and Sebastián sneak along the bank up to the target craft. They approach the boat undetected by swimming. With no one watching it, the two climb aboard. Sebastián hot wires the engine and Nomad pilots it away, east up the river. Whisper is watching with her drone and sees that no one notices the theft. About a half a kilometer up river Nomad pulls the craft over to the bank and the rest of the Team comes aboard. As the boat heads up river Romeo moves up to the bow, stands there and spreads his arms out wide while shouting, “I am king of the world!” Whisper rolls her eyes and then with a mischievous smile turns to Nomad, who is piloting the boat. The SEAL gets the meaning and violently turns the bow, then snaps it back on course. The Delta Force Operator is flipped into the river. They quickly stop and help him back in the boat. Nomad gives him a crocodile smile and tells him, “Sorry, my bad.” When Romeo gets back in the boat he turns to the NET Runner and says, “Hey, Whisper, I’m all wet.” Anubis shakes his head and mutters, “You sure are.” Whisper just continues to ignore the Delta Force operator’s existence, although when he isn’t looking she chuckles at his soggy condition. After about four hours they reach a spot about 500 meters from the hospital, which is also located on the river. The Team pulls the craft ashore and tries to hide it the best they can. Nomad and Whisper will stay with the boat. The SEAL will be on guard and the NET Runner launches her attack drone to surveil the hospital. They decide that Sebastián will go in first in his civvies with a wound. Whisper pulls out her switchblade and gently as she can gives him a cut which looks bad, but really isn’t. He heads down the nearby road to the hospital. Anubis, God and Romeo slip into the water and move on the target. As they head out Nomad tells the Romeo not to hit on the doctor they are here to rescue. The man responds, “No problem, why is she hot?” This sets Anubis off who tells him, “Look, do you want to get slapped? You’re just making yourself fucking obnoxious, dude!” Whisper flies her drone and positions it in the sun so it will be difficult to see looking from their target. God, who is in his ghillie suit, is able to get fairly close to the buildings and hunkers down to watch. Romeo and Anubis find positions farther away. They watch for several hours. There are three buildings in the complex. One is obviously the hospital itself which is by the river. There are patients on litters all around that buildings. Sebastián goes into the hospital and they treat him without question. As he didn’t bring a communicator he can’t say what is happening in the building, but he appears in no danger. In fact, all is very peaceful. About 5 pm a pick-up truck drives up. They off load a couple of wounded to the hospital and also bring boxes of what appears to be supplies into one of the other structures before driving off As they all watch it becomes clear that the third building seems to be the doctor’s living quarters. Around 7 pm, Romeo and Anubis move into the river and close closer to the hospital. They get within 10 meters of the clearing when God’s voice comes over the com channel, “Red Light!” The two stop and hunker down in the reeds by the bank. God reports seeing movement across the open area at the edge of the trees on the north side of the road leading east to Route 62. Whisper doesn’t see it so she switches to thermographic vision. She doesn’t see anything there, but does see a signature of someone right across the road from there also hiding at the edge of the trees. She drops her reticule on it and stands ready with the drone’s grenade launcher. The NET Runner also paints the location on everyone’s tactical monocle and/or video imager. Romeo and Anubis move a little closer. Four people come out of where they believe a kitchen is located. They are carrying four buckets and head down to the river to fill them. After they do, the four head back to where they came from. A doctor comes out of the hospital and lights a cigarette. This is a male and not their primary target. They believe it might be the British physician. A light comes from the spot where God had noticed movement and flashes a signal. The doctor waves and an armed man in camouflaged BDUs with a boonie hat, face paint and a FN-RAL rifle steps out. He heads over to the doctor. It is clear that this isn’t a cartel soldier or Colombian Army. With the NET Runner’s teleoptics she sees a patch on the uniform. She doesn’t recognize it, so she sends it everyone else. Only Anubis knows what it is. The patch is British SAS! The doctor heads to his quarters and a second SAS man comes out from under Whisper’s reticle and takes up a position at the corner of the hospital. The two British Special Forces men can now see all approaches to the hospital. Romeo and Anubis sling their rifles and slowly reveal themselves. They approach in a none threatening manner. Nomad pushes the launch into the deeper water and slowly moves upriver towards the hospital. On Nomad’s orders Whisper moves her grenade reticule back across the road where the first SAS trooper appeared. When the two Team members show themselves a red dot appears on Anubis’s chest. Whisper rotates through her visions and finds the beam. She follows it back to the sniper and begins to aim. The two SAS troopers, who are out in the open, spin around weapons at ready. Anubis calls out in English, “Hey, we’re friendly.” One of the troopers asks, “Who are you?” The SEAL medic replies, “We are here to rescue Dr. Jean Blackwell and bring her to safety.” One of the SAS men turns and talks to the British doctor, then asks, “Anybody else with you?” “Yes, we are not alone,” Romeo tells him. “Just like you.” The Delta Force operator points to where Whisper has identified their sniper. The trooper speaks into his microphone, “They got you.” The SAS sniper wearing his own ghillie suit and a big rifle comes out of spot where he has been hiding. By now Nomad pulls up to the bank by the hospital and grounds the boat gently. Whisper brings down her drone and also comes out and the two teams meet to talk. Anubis asks about Dr. Blackwell, but the SAS team doesn’t know. The two commanders meet and introduce themselves by rank. The SAS sniper says, “Captain Price, British SAS.” Nomad returns with, “Lieutenant Nomad, Navy SEALs.” The two head off a bit and quietly talk amongst themselves. Nomad returns and tells his Team, “Apparently the SAS is here to rescue one of their doctors. Dr. Blackwell is in surgery right now. Anubis, do you want to go in and see if you can assist her.” “Of course, it would be an honor.” Anubis goes into the hospital to help. Nomad continues, “Whisper, go and find Rover (Sebastián) and make sure he is all right.” She nods and also heads into the hospital. God comes out from his hide and drops off Sebastián’s gear before heading back to his spot. Romeo and one of the SAS troopers move to the road from the east and set up on both sides of that road. The remaining two SAS troopers identify themselves as Gaz and Soap. The SAS team is heading out the same way as our Team so the two commanders decide to move together for added safety and firepower. The British doctor goes and talks to the remaining four of his peers to see if they want to go with the two teams and get out. He comes back a short while later and says one of his associates wants to come, but the others have chosen to stay. Whisper asks if she can use their generator to recharge her drone and is given permission to do so. While this is happening Aries buzzes Whisper’s Navstar. This means he has emergency information. She pulls out her satellite phone, turns it on and calls. Satellite surveillance has detected a force of about platoon strength coming from the east. They will be at the hospital in eight to ten hours. Whisper thanks him and turns off her phone. She then plots the distances and time herself and realizes that their arrival is eight hours at the most, probably sooner. Nomad suggests they pack up what they can and get a move on. Captain Price agrees. Whisper goes and speaks to the three doctors who wish to stay. She asks if they speak Spanish, which they do, fluently. Whisper tells them, “You know the people coming will probably kill you all.” “What people?” they ask. “About a platoon of soldiers coming from the east.” “How do you know?” Whisper, who is wearing her camouflaged balaclava, says, “Because it’s my job to know these things.” One of the French doctors asks, “Why would they come to kill us?” “Have you been treating gunshot wounds here?” the NET Runner asks. “Well, yes, a lot of them.” “OK, you have been healing their enemies and for that, you must die.” The three doctors ask for a minute to talk among themselves, so Whisper walks back outside. Soon the three come to her and say they will go with them, but they insist on taking any of the wounded who can travel. When she asks how many that is, they reply 23! Whisper brings this news to the two Special Forces teams. After much discussion it is decided to send the more severely wounded down river in the boat and march with the rest out towards the pickup point. One of the native staff at the hospital is discovered to be a competent boat handler so 11 of the wounded are loaded aboard with him and sent down river. Just before they leave Whisper tells the handler, “Don’t stop at Dabeiba, we kind of ‘borrowed’ the boat from there without permission.” The handler grins and nods. As the craft will reach the town during the night, he will take it right on past and further downstream. The boat heads out into the river and downstream to hopeful safety. Some of the local staff says they will stay behind and tend to the wounded that can’t be moved as long as they can. Hopefully if they get caught they will be spared any retribution since the target doctors are now gone. Captain Price warns them to not go east if they wish to leave since that will be very dangerous. He doesn’t mention that Gaz and Soap are setting up some booby traps for the incoming soldiers. The doctors, the Teams and those walking wounded who can gather up food, medical supplies and any gear they will need for the trip. Whisper talks to those remaining behind and tells them they will be heading to their mountain camp, a bit west and well to the north of here. She then packs up her freshly recharged drone. The Team’s group, now numbering 27, heads down the road to hopeful safety. *** Sunday, March 16, 2070: The Team’s column moves at a decent pace for the first three hours, but after an additional five hours they have slowed to a crawl. With the sun is rising, the group sets a camp up just off the road and everyone collapses. Nomad and Captain Price decide to give them four hours rest before continuing on. The doctors along with both Anubis and Romeo see to the wounded. Whisper pulls out her drone and sends it east, back to the hospital, which is at the farthest range of her RPV so she doesn’t have much loiter time. When it gets there, she finds a scene of rapine slaughter, which she films. These troops are wearing military camo but there isn’t much uniformity to them. These are clearly cartel soldiers and they appear to be looking for someone in particular. She suspects from the Team briefing that these are from the Devil’s Cartel. The drone returns with its battery almost completely drained. The NET Runner sets it up on her solar recharger. On the march here, Whisper took note of their charges. Nine of them (six males and three females) are from the local indigenous tribe, but the other three, all males, are clearly White/Mestizo. More importantly she recognizes that two of them have tattoos that are usually worm by members of the Medellin Cartel. This pair also carries themselves like solos and has Skinweave. Also, with her earlier (and unfortunate) experience with organized crime it is clear that they are guarding the third ‘white’ man. She informs Nomad and Captain Price and will tell the others when they awake from their sleep. Before the NET Runner crawls off into the jungle to pass out, she calls Aries on her satellite phone and sends him the pictures of the hospital massacre and the three “cartel” men with them. Next: Episode 16 – Complications
  19. Yes, I have read Datafortress' Conflict II and I have downloaded Wisdom000 complete files. They are an invaluable resource. I have read the C.I.A. factbook on the country, which is always a great source. I have done quite a bit of reading on Colombia and consulted a few friends of mine from there. As to your other points: 1) Mining is very important and IRL there is a lot of pressure from international corporations who are hiring mercenaries to drive the indigenous population from their lands. Hence the guerilla groups from these peoples that exist today. As to oil I hadn't considered that, so I believe that, yes, they still have reserves, but the government, Cartels and local corporations agree on one thing. It is too valuable a resource to be shipped out. Without it there own industry would grind to a halt. 2) Yes, these are important parts of the Colombian economy and no, climate change hasn't destroyed them. 3) We have established that biotech, both legal and illegal is now a major industry. Which brings us to the C.I.A. and NSA bioplagues. We have decided that resistant strains have been developed over the years, but as you point out, they are now mostly luxury goods for the idle rich. In the realm of 'great minds think alike', we have established that the various cartels have diversified much like the old American Mafia. They do smuggle as much coffee as they do the older drugs. More importantly, Colombia has, through its breakthroughs in biotech and biochemistry, has become the leaders in the world-wide designer drug market. This diversification is part of the Team's original mission in Colombia, which we should get back too as soon as our current extraction mission is done. The drug cartels have taken over much of the tourist industry and our mission is to disrupt these legal cash cows on the Pacific coast. The various cartels still have it out for the United States, but others in business and government are less enthused about these old grievances. While Euro Corps do a brisk business here, they are viewed with some suspicion by all parties in Colombia. Now that the United States threat has been rolled back a bit, most do not want to trade one economic master for another. There is also the PAC Rim to consider. Colombia has one deep water Pacific port and that is Buenaventura. Reading about that city's situation currently reads like a dystopian story right now IRL. Chinese, Japanese and Australian corporations will be challenging the Euro Corps attempts to subvert the country. The Colombian government spends its efforts in playing these foreign groups attempts to assert more control. Anyway, all of this is very helpful and will help us flesh out a 2069 (or 2070) Colombia.
  20. Picking Everyone's Brain One of my pet peeves with Cyberpunk 2020 and its iterations is how little attention has been paid to non-western culture. The older 2020 system did start to go into other countries situation, but with the exception of Western Europe, Japan and to some extent China, other places were often just dismissed as “shit hole” countries. With (near) global collapse that can be somewhat understandable. However, it seems many of the writers were thinking without Western technology and leadership, everywhere else would just fall apart. There are many incredibly older and richer cultures that would NOT just collapse if the West did and I write this off to the “jingoism” that has permeated Western thinking for well over two centuries now. Please note I am not a “self-hater” here and I do recognize the many positive accomplishments of what we have built in the “Western World”, but to simply ignore the resilience and complexity of second and third world countries denies both them and us of examining the rich fabric of humanity around the world. That said at least Wisdom000 and others here at Views from the Edge did attempt to open the Cyberpunk World to Africa and South America as places with more than just a dismissive paragraph or two. As our group restarted our Cyberpunk campaigns as Cyberpunk 2069, we were hoping that the new Cyberpunk 2077 would give some fresh fertile ground for a game with more of a world view. In this, the Kickstarter has been a bit of a disappointment, but the lack of information is understandable as this new release is really just a “taste” of the new game. That still doesn’t help us as we have left the old Night City and are now mucking about in Colombia. Our thought for our Night City (centered) group is that we will realign ourselves with the published realities of the new game when things become clearer (or not). We now find that we need to establish more information for us to work with in our new campaign as our group learns more and more about the situation in Colombia as it stands now. We have started on the premise that the bad feelings between many of the South Am counties and the United States are still very much a problem. We (our GMs) have talked about how to handle this and we now have to come up with some (fictional) history. Our group tends to do a lot of research about where we are and Colombia is in reality a very diverse country both socially and racially. The two arms of the northern Andres Mountains divide the country into a number of distinct areas along with the Caribbean coast and Amazon basin. Our group is operating in the Chocó Department on the Pacific coast, which is primarily Afro-Colombian in nature and very different from the major cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cali. The Chocó Department (especially along the coast) is almost completely cut off from most of the rest of the country and usually accessible only by boat or plane (as of now). We are looking to update the country along these lines. The government is very weak and its military forces are really only there to defend its national territorial integrity. Much of the government is still infiltrated by drug gangs, but there is a movement trying to free themselves from these pernicious influences with the help of foreign and local corporations. Many of the right wing militias sided with their American patrons in the South Am Wars so they have become less of a threat with the American defeat. FARC and ETN are still around, but operate in their areas as more like local governments. There are a number of small militias defending the indigenous native populations from the depredations of corporate mercenaries trying to take their lands and resources although some have just become nothing more than smaller drug gangs. As for the major drug cartels there are now four survivors. The Medellin and Cali cartels are the old established ones with their HQs in those respective cities. There is the North Coast Cartel that is headquartered on the Caribbean coast and the Devil’s Cartel, which has come from Bolivia and was founded by rogue members of that nation’s military Special Forces. As for the Panama Canal, it is back under United States control. The independents that were holding it could no longer do so and have made a deal with the federal government. This is so far what we have been considering. Since our Team is just a bunch of grunts doing the bidding of our C.I.A. handlers none of us have looked too much into the situation (fictionally) of what is happening in the country, but as we get deeper into our campaign, many of us are beginning to realize that we need more (player) information to help base our decisions on. Anybody have thoughts on all of this?
  21. In two days our group gets together for Episode 15 of our current campaign. The GM left us with not a lot of information on our next mission. He has since had a little mercy and given us the bare mission profile. The Team will get one night's sleep and be doing another night HALO jump into the foothills of the northern Andres Mountains in Colombia. The mission is simple: we have to rescue six doctors from Doctors Without Borders at a mountain jungle hospital, who are being threatened by (drug gangs, right wing militias, leftist guerillas). Pick one, I guess. We haven't been informed, but with so many possibilities it could be more than one threat. The GM has described it as an "easy in and easy out" mission that should take just a couple of days. Of course that means it will be a complete cluster f*ck with everything going wrong! It wouldn't be a whole lot of fun otherwise. Yes, we are pretty cocky after our last success. My decision right now is what type of drone to bring. I always carry a Grid Bug because that little "spy" is so useful, but I can bring one other. Since I have access to everything (pretty much) in the book, the choices are numerous. Perhaps I should try to improve my design and construction skills so I can use the Drone Book developed here. Anyway, I need something small with good surveillance options, but can still pack a little punch. I am favoring the Microtech Attack Drone at present. It has Thermo, Low Light Anti-dazzle and x10 teleoptics plus a one shot, 2x 40mm grenade strike. I can always carry a few more 40mm grenades to reload. I am fairly sure that our "easy out" will turn into "I am sorry, but circumstances have changed and we can't pick you up. We don't you run for the border." I am pondering what to bring in my load out. It can't be anything that can be "officially" traced ack to the U.S. government. Any suggestions? Oh, we are not being sent out of the goodness of the government's heart. One of the doctors is a secret C.I.A. asset! Let's hope we don't all die!
  22. These are interesting observations. One was explained by the GM later out-of-game and the other wouldn't have worked in our situation. 1. Lazy Dog bomb: This did come up in our after game discussion. We had watched the plantation for several days and "counted guns". There were 13 guard towers with two men each and during two of the three daily guard shifts there were always two 4 man patrols moving around the plantation. In addition to these armed guards were about a half a dozen overseers watching the "slaves" while they worked. That was a total of 86 armed guards plus the overseers. These all were stationed in the barracks bunker since none ever left the site after work. The barracks bunker measured about 10x8 meters on the surface, therefore the only way they could all fit was with multiple underground levels, since there was only one level on the surface. The prisoners' bunker was very, very close to the barracks. While a kinetic kill munition would break the bunker, Aries' (the GM's) fear was that the cracking of the barracks might also smash other bunker. The "burrowing bomb" would go down a couple of levels and explode, sending the bulk of the explosion straight up and down and just rain debris on the prisoners. Anyway that was the GM's explanation of why he changed our ordinance suggestion. As to the cost, hey, our government has never (IRL) given much thought to weapon's cost. 2. The thermite grenades might have eventually burned through, but the roof was reinforced and that would have take time we didn't want to spend. Actually we never thought of using thermite grenades anyway, but now that you have pointed out their use, I will definitely add them to my character's equipment list. I am sure we will find them useful in the future. Thanks for the idea! BTW, it is these kind of suggestions that all of us here find very useful. Although we don't know the details yet, our next mission is going to involve rescuing some "do-gooders" who are in trouble somewhere in the area we are operating in. The GM says it will be an easy in and out. Translation: Everything is going to go wrong and we are going to be running for our lives! Sounds like fun!
  23. Aries' Misguided Children finally goes into action! Episode 14 – The Plantation Raid The Team pulls off its first strike with much success despite a number of botches during the operation. Fortunately none occurred on a weapons roll or anything that could possibly be fatal, so it just led to embarrassment for the players involved. Six lost American POWs are rescued and a Drug Plantation is decimated. The Team hopes that this attack kicks off a war between the two of the feuding rival cartels in the area, but only time will tell. 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. Gunny John: An advisor and trainer who works for Aries, who is clearly ex or current military. The Action Tuesday, March 11, 2070: The past couple of days have been very boring for the Team. Most sit around, work on their gear and play cards except for Whisper who remains glued to her Electronic Warfare Suite where she is de-constructing the various radio signals flying through the air in the area. Romeo continues his attempts to flirt with the NET Runner. He asks if she can hook him up so he can check his Facebook page. She doesn’t even acknowledge his existence, much less answer him. In fact the young woman doesn’t speak or make eye contact with any of the Special Ops soldiers except Nomad to whom he gives a daily report. The NET Runner only talks to and socializes a bit with Sebastián, her fellow Agency operative. After one of Romeo’s failed attempts to engage her, the Delta Force operator says to Nomad, “One day I am going to break that silence of hers.” Whisper has uncovered more information about the three cartels operating in the area. All three nightclubs in Nuquí are controlled by the Medellin Cartel. The plantation nearby is run by the Devil’s Cartel, which is selling drugs to the local tourists. This has angered the Medellin group. She reports this to Aries who has information of his own and a change in plans for the attack. Their shotcaller has learned that an important personage will be visiting the plantation soon, so he wants the Team to delay the attack by one day and use that time for surveillance. Also, he adds a laser guided bomb strike to the mission profile instead of using a HARM missile to destroy the barracks bunker. The bomb will be a burrowing “bunker buster” that will have less chance of damaging the prisoners bunker next door. This will be dropped by a fighter from 30,000 feet. The Team will provide the laser designation. With the opening salvo changed, Whisper gets approval for her weapons load out on the RPV-400 Light Combat Tiltrotor and has a multi-targeting system installed. The four wing hard points will have one 5” rocket apiece and there will be a 19 shot 2” rocket pod on the centerline hard point. Two of the 5” rockets will be fired at the drug lab. With some good hits it these will also take out the four guard towers surrounding that building and maybe a nearby vehicle or two. Each of the remaining two 5” rockets will be targeted at one of the warehouses. The 19 shot 2” rocket pod will be dedicated to destroying the large hacienda of the plantation. The rapid fire 12.7mm machine / chain gun will then strafe the complex before turning south to the sub pens to deal with any cartel members it can catch outside. At this point, if not shot down yet, Whisper will use the drone to support the ground team and cover their withdrawal. The ground team will plan the details of their opening moves after they get on scene in case of any changes in the guards’ routine. The basic plan at this point is that James SIlva will pick a point by the west side of the road leading south to the sub pens which are located about 500 meters away. He will use the laser designator to guide the smart munition and switch to his sniper rifle after the bomb hits. The remaining four will position themselves to quickly move on the prisoners’ bunker. With a basic plan in place the Team heads out very early in the morning to begin their second round of surveillance. (Game Note: I am still working on getting a photo hosting site to post our maps on, so this description of the plantation layout might be confusing. Well, our GM stole borrowed the layout from Adventure #5 in the Tales from the Forlorn Hope. It can be found on page 69 of that book with the following changes: The ‘cameras’ are now guard towers, Bunker 1 is the prisoners bunker, Bunker #2 is the barracks bunker, the road that heads off to the northwest goes to just outside Nuquí and the road south actually goes to the sub pens, not an airfield.) The Team breaks into three two-person teams and position themselves in the jungle surrounding the plantation complex. They will be in positions to be able to see the entire place. One of each pair one will watch while the other gets some rest. Around 1pm an armed helicopter flies low over the plantation complex scanning the area. Soon two more choppers appear. One is a gunship and the other some sort of transport, which lands inside the low walls of the hacienda. A family gets out. There is a man in his forties to whom the people there show great respect with what appears to be a young trophy wife or mistress and six children, who are clearly not hers. The family heads into the main building. After the air transport and gunships leave, the guards continue on their regular routine. Whisper takes pictures of the new arrivals. For the rest of the day the Team continues to watch in shifts as each member keeps fresh with power naps throughout the rest of that day and evening. *** Wednesday, March 12, 2070: After midnight Whisper heads south down to a spot in the jungle about one hundred meters from the sub pens and hangs her enclosed camouflaged, IR resistant sleeping bag in a tree. This is where she will run the drone and/b] her part of the operation later today. At 2 am she climbs into her bag and hits Locate Remote. To her surprise she finds five remotes in the sub pen. One is connected to a small computer in the building that isn’t being monitored and allows her to enter the NET there. The other four are hooked up to GPS trackers; one for each submarine. She enters the small laptop easily and opens all of the files. Among these files there is e-mail, music, games, and porn, lots and lots of porn). The computer is presently just playing some music in the sub pens for the enjoyment of the about a half a dozen people there. As the NET Runner has a number of blank chips installed, she downloads everything she can, including the porn. While contents of the computer are being downloaded Whisper looks carefully through the e-mail. She finds a file named “launch codes”. There are four of them, all single numbers. With four codes and four subs she concludes that these are needed to activate something on the subs; perhaps starting their engines? The NET Runner goes back and checks the transmission history of these codes. At 1am each day a new set of codes are sent and downloaded on an encrypted line (which she easily hacks) to each submarine. Whisper drops out of the NET and moves to the edge of the jungle and releases one her Grid Bugs before heading back to her roost and re-entering the NET. She sends the bug back into sub pens and aboard one of the subs. The men inside are just playing cards and not paying particular attention. Once inside the sub the bug uses its induction leg to hook into the CPU aboard the submersible. The NET Runner figures out that anyone can start the engines, however if you haven’t entered the code to start it then fifteen minutes later a detonator switch attached to the engine will activate and something will explode. Each sub has an antenna that will attempt to reconnect to the NET after the sub surfaces. These must be disabled. She retrieves her Grid Bug, tells everyone what she discovered before falling asleep in her hanging bag. During the pre-dawn hours, Nomad is asleep with Romeo awake at ready. The army man looks down at his sleeping commander’s face and muses over the team’s radio link, “What I would give for a sharpie right now.” Romeo hears the hammer cock back on the other man’s handgun. The Delta Force operator has forgotten that Navy SEALs are notoriously light sleepers. The rest of the daylight hours are spend watching the plantation and making sure there are no major changes in their routine, which there isn’t. The family of the V.I.P. spends a lot of time at the hacienda’s pool or playing tennis on the court there. The Team confirms that the six American POWs that are being used as slave labor are still there. Just before dusk everyone gets together. The Team finalizes their plans for the attack later this night. Jamal and Sebastián will be at the tree line on the east side of the open area of the plantation near the southernmost guard tower on the hacienda’s wall. This wall has a one meter stone base with a two meter chain link fence on top. The towers have wooden legs with a 2 to 3 person platform surrounded by low corrugated tin shell. When the attack commences, The Medtech and the Panzerboy will kill the two guards in the tower near them before moving on the nearby parked vehicles to steal two of them. They will then drive them to the bunker where the prisoners are being held. Nomad and Romeo will be just inside the tree line due south of prisoners’ bunker. Those two will use their grenade launchers (an M-212 for Romeo and an underslung for Nomad) to take out the remaining two guard towers on the south part of the hacienda’s wall. After the towers are taken out they will sprint to the prisoners’ bunker to free them where (hopefully) Jamal and Sebastián will have arrived with the escape vehicles. James SIlva will be watching over them as he will have switched to his sniper rifle. Whisper and the pilot (dropping the bomb) will try to coordinate the bomb blast and first rocket attacks. This is when they will jump off. The Team moves into their start positions. Romeo sets six charges on each of six trees on the road to the sub pens. His good demo roll makes sure that they will block the road when they fall. A little before 11pm, the drone arrives and flies within 400 meters of Whisper’s position and she takes it over. Her deck, which is hooked into her drone controller, is in the Team’s radio link. They hear their NET Runner shout, “Wee!” The pilot signals the bomb drop and the countdown commences. Right on time the burrowing bomb makes a direct hit on the barracks bunker. The explosion also takes out the guard tower next to it. Whisper unleashes two of her 5” rockets and they hit either end of the Drug Lab. The explosions also take out the four guard towers around it and a vehicle nearby. The pressure wave hits the northwest guard tower on the hacienda’s wall. One of the two guards holds on, but the other is blown out and lands bruised and battered inside the wall. Sebastián botches his second shot (just a miss) on the guard in the southeast tower, but fortunately the first shot does hit and kills him. Jamal easily kills the other guard in that tower. From the south Romeo puts a 40mm grenade into southernmost tower along the west wall, while Nomad takes out the tower just west of the prison bunker. The next round Romeo and Nomad sprint for the prisoners’ bunker. Sebastián and Jamal run to the closest cars south of the hacienda to steal two vehicles. God now has his rifle and kills the two men in the last tower on the west wall of the hacienda. Whisper unleashes her remaining 5” rockets on the drug warehouses. The blast wrecks them both and destroys the two guard towers around them. This blast also takes out the northwest tower. The guard that was blown out of that tower last round is now safely behind the low stone wall around the hacienda. He watches his former perch get engulfed by a fireball. Romeo sets a small breaching charge on the prison bunker door with Nomad on over watch. Sebastián doesn’t bother looking for the keys and tries to hotwire the first car and botches it. He breaks the ignition. Whisper closes with her drone, but drops down to tree height to break any line of sight from the hacienda defenders to her. Sebastián runs up to the next vehicle and again botches the hotwire job. He fails to start it. Romeo successful blows the door to the bunker. The ground rumbles near the bunkers as secondary explosions go off down below in the barracks bunker. The Drug Lab continues to explode as the volatile chemicals stored continue to blow. Jamal moves to another parked SUV and looks for a key. It is in the cup holder. (In fact every one of the SUVs’ had keys in the front seat cup holder.) Whisper is now getting closer and rises above the tree line. She unloads her 19 shot 2” rocket pod on the hacienda. The barrage wrecks the place completely along with the garage nearby. Jamal pulls his SUV up to the prisoners’ bunker and joins the other two operators. Romeo and Nomad enter the bunker and find just an elevator with four buttons. The three enter the lift and push the second button from the top. Sebastián finally gets a vehicle going and also pulls up to the prisoners’ bunker. He waits there and guards the stolen vehicles. Whisper again drops her remote out of sight and runs at tree top level. Inside the prisoners’ bunker the elevator door opens and the three operators find a long room filled with stacks of shrink wrapped bundles on pallets and two very surprised guards. The guards are both shot down by the Team. The elevator now closes behind the three and goes down. Jamal goes back to the elevator door and hits both the down and up buttons. Romeo checks the bundles on the palettes. The bundles on palates on one side are wrapped up drugs. The ones on the other are wrapped up stacks of euros! Nomad finds three duffel bags and they start to break up the large wrapped bundles of cash. They get one duffel bag filled. The elevator returns and Jamal holds it there. Outside Whisper’s tiltrotor comes across the plantation from the northwest and strafes the vehicles across from the now destroyed warehouses. It continues across the map and destroying more vehicles and the last guard tower before exiting over the jungle to the east. Sebastián continues to watch the vehicles while God continues on over watch. The three operators get into the elevator and head to the next level. As the door, opens the cartel two guards inside open fire with three round bursts. The first guard jams his weapon and the second hits Romeo with two rounds. Fortunately, they are firing 5.56mm standard ammunition and the Delta Force man’s armor turns the shots. The Teams’ return fire kills the lightly armored guards. This is the prison level. The cells are controlled by a set of levers on the wall. Romeo pulls six of the levers at random and six captured locals burst out of those cells and rush the elevator. These men jump in the elevator and head out. Romeo shouts (in Spanish), “All Americans stay with us.” Jamal stops Romeo from opening more cells and then he goes down the cell block to locate the Americans first. The medic has the pictures that Whisper took almost a week ago and so he quickly locates the Americans. These men are in a total panic and won’t listen. It takes Nomad coming down the cell block and using his command authority (Leadership) to calm them and convince these men that the Team is here to rescue them. Up on the ground level Sebastián sees six locals burst out of the bunker and scatter. By now Whisper’s tiltrotor has reached the sub pens and approaches them from the east. She sees the eight crew and technicians of the submarines are now outside of the building and standing in a group facing north watching the explosions from the plantation complex. She puts the firing reticule of her 12.7mm chain gun on that group, and turns them into hamburger. The elevator comes back down and goes by their floor and down to the bottom level. Jamal pushes the call button and brings it back up. No one is in the elevator. They load the Americans in the elevator along with themselves and head to the first underground level. Romeo and Nomad get out to pack the last two duffel bags with cash while Jamal takes the now ex-prisoners to the two waiting vehicles where he quickly checks their health and loads them in. The Medtech then takes out a can of spray paint (of local manufacture) and paints a “tag” representing the Medellin Cartel on the prison bunker and the destroyed barracks bunker. This will hopefully enrage the Devil’s Cartel whose facility this was. Nomad and Romeo finish packing and head up to the waiting vehicles. Before leaving that level, Nomad tosses two demo charges consisting of one kilogram of C-6 each on a five minute timer on both the drugs and the considerable remaining cash. At this point, the cartel guard, who was blown out of the tower, sees the two SUVs which pulled up to the prisoners’ bunker. He mistakes it for escaping fellow guards and runs to join them. This gives God a target so the guard is shot down quickly. The sniper comes down from his perch and is picked up by the now retreating Team in their stolen SUVs. As they drive away, Romeo sets off the charges on the six trees and blocks the road to any pursuit. Whisper signals the operators on the Olympus to take over the drone. She then drops out, climbs out of her hanging bag and makes for the sub pens. At the sub pens the whole Team is now back together. Romeo sets charges on the support corners of the building while the former American POWs are loaded into one of the submarines. Others disconnect the GPS trackers that their NET Runner had located. The start-up codes are inputted and the engines are started on two of the submersibles. Whisper starts the motors on the two remaining subs without entering the start codes which begins the countdown to their self-destruct. She also disconnects the laptop in the office and takes that for Aries. God then sets claymore mines just inside the hatches of the two doomed submarines. With Sebastián piloting the lead sub and Nomad on the second they sail them down the Rio Nuquí. About fifteen minutes later they see and hear explosions in the distance as the sub pens and the two remaining submersibles explode. As they near the mouth of the river the two boats slip just under the surface and sail by the town of Nuquí unnoticed under a new moon. They set a course to rendezvous with the Olympus *** Thursday, March 13, 2070: About 4:30 am, the two ex-narco subs rendezvous with the Olympus about 20 miles off the Colombian coast. The ship is on course for the Panama Canal in a recognized shipping lane. At this point it is stopped in the water. Aries signals them to come up under his ship. Sebastián and Nomad, who are piloting the two craft, see that there are large underwater bay doors which are open. They pilot their crafts inside and the doors close. The two subs are quickly secured and the Olympus is again underway quickly. Medical and technical teams swarm the two crafts. Jamal directs the medical personnel as they unload the six ex-POWs. Whisper hands the cartel laptop to Aries and then helps the technicians scour the submersibles for any transmitters and traps. They disconnect the explosives attached to the engines. Nomad turns in the three duffel bags filled with plastic wrapped cartel cash to Aries, who breaks out in a big smile when he sees this. The man tells the group. “This should fund our little enterprise for a little bit and provide a nice unofficial bonus for all of you.” That statement puts a smile on all of the Team’s faces. Everyone now heads to the conference room for a debriefing where Gunny John, one of their trainers, is waiting. As senior military officer, Nomad gives the main body of the Team’s report, and Whisper, who has been granted the rank equivalent of an Army Captain, speaks for the two C.I.A. operatives. Aries listens and tells the two to write it all up. Neither of them mentions the tensions and conflict that occurred at the Nuquí safe house. Aries also congratulates them on a job well done, and then tells them, “OK, all of you hit the racket and get some sleep. You deserve it. After the Team has left the room, Gunny John turns to Aries and says, “Why didn’t you tell them about the new assignment? It has to be done immediately.” Aries sighs, “I know, but they deserve a good rest before we send them out again so quickly. Let them bask a little in their victory without worrying about the hell they are about to go through.” Next: Episode 15 – An Emergency Extraction
  24. And away they go! They may not be the type of group you originally planned on, but this is a great start. Nomads are often notorious scavengers looking for parts and supplies to keep their aging equipment going. Their lack of combat types will be a challenge, but this only means that they must be clever. Their lack of social skills can be great fodder for you (as GM) to provide character growth and a bit of humor. Also, a small group of three won't attract as much attention as a larger heavily armed group would. Players seldom do what the GM expects and that is often a fact of gaming groups. They often surprise you in ways you didn't expect. I hope we hear more about these three and their adventures moving across the wasteland that in a Cyberpunk world.
  25. Finally, we are up to date with our episodes! Episode 13 – Welcome to Colombia Aries commits his new Team into action. They are to operate in the Chocó Department in the northwest part of Colombia on the Pacific coast. They will drop into the municipality of Nuquí and start operations in the town of the same name. The Team quickly locates a drug “plantation” and laboratory hidden in the jungle. They make a discovery about the operations there which leads them to plan a strike on this facility. As they wait for the gear they requested for the operation to arrive, they must stay locked up in a small safe house. Tensions immediately break out between Whisper and Romeo. He is constantly trying to flirt with her, but she isn’t happy with his come on and innuendos. The Delta Force operator pushes it right to the edge and the Spy is ready to plunge that edge right into his chest. He’s actually harmless and means well despite his Neanderthal approach, but she only sees a large aggressive male. Her reaction to people like that had gotten her the nickname in high school of “Stabby McStabby”. 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. The Action Sunday, March 2, 2070: The Team assembles for their first mission in one of the ready rooms at the military section of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Aries begins his briefing, “With this operation we will be attempting to disrupt various drug cartels’ legitimate businesses and that they use for money laundering. The Colombian Department of Chocó runs along the Pacific Coast from Colombia’s norther border with Panama down to the Valle del Cauca. It has long been a jump off point for drug shipments and terrorist infiltration. With the presence of many small rivers and mangrove swamps there is plenty of cover for the cartels’ operations. We will begin operations in Nuquí, which is both the name of the municipality and a town. The municipality of Nuquí is located in that Department of between the mountainous area of Baudó and the Pacific Ocean. The area has a great ethnic and cultural diversity as well as a big variety of flora and fauna. Nuquí has 8.096 inhabitants, 3095 of which live in the municipal capital. The majority of the people are Afro-Colombians. Another part of the population is represented by members of the Emberá, an indigenous tribe. There are no known roads going to or from the Municipality of Nuquí and only a very few coastal roads (paths) between some of the villages. There is daily boat service between the Town of Nuquí and the City of Buenaventura to the south. Nuquí also has a small (mostly) unregulated airport with almost daily commuter service. Travel between the numerous coastal villages is done by small chartered boats of which there are many.” Aries looks up and scans the faces of his Team. Yes, they are all laser focused on his words so he continues. “The reason for our interest in this area is because it has become one of the most popular tourist spots on the Pacific coast, and the surfing capital of Colombia. On some beaches what the waves lack in size is made up for in their perfect curls and the fact you can ride them for almost a kilometer or more down the shore. These beach towns are filled with small, quaint hotels many with themed bars for the tourists. There are a number of small clubs located in the larger settlements of the municipality. Another major draw to this area is that the Gulf of Tribugá at the northern end of the municipality. It is the spawning ground for the few humpback whales still in existence. The one thing you won’t find here that is usually in other resort areas are the large chain hotels. The public reason for this is that the locals don’t want their (fairly) pristine beaches destroyed any more by big corporations. The real reason is that all these small, quaint hotels are owned or pay kickbacks to the various drug cartels in the area. These many small businesses also launder huge amounts of these organizations’ dirty money. This is what we have to take out.” With that Jamal stirred a bit and asked, “Could you be a little clearer on the term ‘take out’ here.” Aries knew what his man was getting at and answered. “No, we aren’t going to take any action against the tourists themselves. It is the services and facilities of the many local cartels that will support the tourist trade that we will target. This is in addition to the drug producing facilities that are located in the area. Our goal is to make the locals organizations think that these attacks come from rival groups and spark a war between them. All of this will discourage the tourists from coming to this area.” With Jamal’s and others’ concerns assuaged for now Aries continues, “Tonight you will be HALO dropped into a small clearing in the jungle slightly southeast of Town of Nuquí. You will recon the area around that town as we have learned that one of the cartels supposedly has a facility around there. After you locate it or 48 hours pass you can retire to a safe house we have established in Nuquí. The next part of the operation will center on breaking up the cartels that are selling to the tourists as well as identifying all of the players in the area.” Now that Aries is sure that the Team understands the opening mission parameters he releases them to prepare for long flight and drop tonight. For the four trained Special Forces operators this is just another mission albeit with a new Team. The two Navy Seals have met before in a training program they both attended, but otherwise hadn’t worked together. Ensign Hemings and Lt. Silva have also trained together at one point and even done an operation or two when Jamal served as a Navy Corpsman with a Marine Force Recon Unit. This is Sebastián Favala’s first operation since he “volunteered” for the C.I.A. Despite this he feels strangely relaxed. Yes, this would be dangerous, but so are most of the things he has done in his short life. Gabriela stares into a mirror at a face that is still unfamiliar to her. Gone is her dirty blonde hair and light brown eyes. Her hair is now jet black with dark brown eyes and her lips are full. Her skin tone is darker and her cyberware and training has changed her voice. She even speaks English now with a slight Spanish accent. No one who knew her before would recognize her. Later that afternoon their “civilian” cargo plane takes off from the Virgin Islands and heads for Ecuador carrying a legitimate cargo. Their charted course will take them over Nuquí about midnight. On board the Team is silent for hours, but Arnold keeps looking over at Whisper. She has pointedly talked to no one but Aries and Sebastián. He decides to rib her a bit, “Hey Whisper, why don’t you and I HALO out 69 together?” The girl looks up and glares at him for a second before flipping open her switchblade and cleaning her nails and saying, “Funny”. The lieutenant keeps pushing his joke, “Well, 69 is the best I can do.” Whisper looks at him with his toned abs, smiles and asks, “Tell me is it true that steroids shrink your balls?” Banner laughs and replies, “That’s true, they’re only five pounds apiece now.” “So all the size went there; I guess that’s why I’ve heard you only have a two inch pecker,” she shoots back. Aries, who is flying in with them but will continue on to Ecuador, tells the two, “All right, play nice, children.” The rest of the flight was fairly quiet and the Team jumped just after midnight. *** Monday, March 3, 2070: Just a few seconds after midnight, the Team parachutes into the Colombian jungle from a high altitude. Everyone lands well except for Whisper who botches (just a fail) her HALO roll. With this she drops 600 meters off target to the north. She stands alone in the dark, in the jungle. The rest of the Team notices she isn’t with them as the radio crackles on with Whisper asking, “Hey, where are you guys, did you mis-drop?” Fortunately, she had requested and got a DataTel Mapmaker with Nav/Star and notices her error. “Ops, this was me, stay where you are. I’ll find you.” James starts getting his ghillie suit ready and Arnold checks his weapons. Thirty minutes later Whisper steps out of the jungle, Arnold says, “I told you we should have 69’ed down together.” The C.I.A. operative thinks, “Not ever!” The decision now is where to go next. Their safe house is nearby, but it isn’t a place they want to go to and from a lot. They do have rations for three days so they decide to search both sides of the Rio Nuquí. Whisper unpacks her mini-bee remote, puts the scorpion and two grid bugs back in the backpack, and she sends the bee up using thermographic vision on over watch controlled by her flip switch. As they move up the river, the bee finds an armed seven man patrol. Everyone hides successfully. The Team follows them with both the drone and on the ground. The cartel patrol moves down a trail that starts to loop around when they arrive at what appears to be some kind of plantation near the river. As the Team looks out over the open fields, they can see that the buildings have some kind of rigging to hide them from high altitude satellite of surveillance. The mini-bee can see thru it, but only because they know where everything is. Anubis suggests at least twenty – four hour surveillance on this place. This the Team settles down to do. When the sun comes up armed men bring a chain gang out of one bunker and bring them out to work in the field. Whisper uses her bino-glasses and notices that about a half dozen of the eighteen look more North American. Another building they identify as some sort of drug lab has a porch running around it with a half a dozen armed men on it at all times. There are also four guard towers around this building with a good number of vehicles nearby. Also two four man patrols are in constant motion around the complex. The patrols check the warehouses regularly. Besides the four towers around the “Drug Lab” there are fifteen more scattered around. Most of these guard the Hacienda. Two roads head out of the plantation. Whisper sends the drone down the road to the south. It quickly ends at the river with an old, large camouflaged building. The road to the northwest heads back to the Town of Nuquí. It ends near the town. There are a number of foot trails heading off in the direction of the town. The mini-bee needs to land and re-charge. Whisper, Sebastián and Nomad go down towards the building by the river. There the NET Runner drops off a Grid Bug and sends it inside, where they find four small cargo submersibles. It is clear this is an important facility of a major player in the area. By the end of the day, they begin working on a plan to rescue what Whisper believes are forgotten American POWs. The plan they come up with is to request a Militech RPV-400 Tilt Rotor Remote which support will fly in and Whisper will take over and direct to attack the facilities. This they will use as a cover while the rest of the Team rescues the hostages. The question becomes what then? Sebastián suggests they steal a submarine or two. All they will need is a couple of Pilot: Small Submersible +3 Chips along with six days and a NET VR program. They call in their mission request to Aries along with a supply drop. The RPV-400 remote will carry one Hellfire Missile and four HATGMs along with its chain gun. The Hellfire will take out the troop bunker with Nomad on laser designator. Whisper will then fire her other missiles on the drug lab and warehouses. Banner will blast the guard towers with his grenade launcher along with James using his sniper rifle. Nomad, Jamal and Sebastián will sweep in and grab the prisoners and a vehicle. Aries tells them that it will be 24 to 36 hours to get approvals for this plan and he will contact them at the Team safe house in Nuquí on the encrypted communications gear there. The Team makes a large request for various amounts of gear. The Team decides to watch the plantation for another day. Around sundown all of the trucks at the plantation load up “product” and head down the road to the northwest. When these vehicles reach the end of the road lots of people come out of the jungle and take the drugs into town. The four box trucks return to the warehouses, load up with more product and these are escorted south to the “sub pens”. Each box truck fills one submarine. The subs leave immediately. *** Tuesday, March 4, 2070: In the late morning the four subs return to their berths in the building along the river south of the plantation. The Team again watches the plantation again for the day, and learns the rhythm of the place. The entire Team heads to the safe house that evening. The safe house is an abandoned building on the outskirts of the Town of Nuquí. The Team enters the place, but it is a bit of a ruin. Whisper notices a mark on a wall. It is one that Aries often uses. She investigates it and finds an entrance to a large underground (barracks) room. The only other room down there is a single shower with a bathroom stall. This is the real safe house. Inside they find supplies, ammunition, beds and encrypted communications equipment. They contact Aries and he tells them that their mission plan is a go. There will be a delivery tomorrow of two Pilot: Submersible (small) +3 chips. There will be two more supply deliveries before the mission jumps off. On the night of March 11th to 12th a drone will appear in the area that Whisper can take over and use to attack the hidden plantation. For now the Team rests from their two days in the field. Romeo requests some Hot Pockets and John Grisham books in the next supply drop to past the time. Aries quietly wonders to himself why he selected this Army Delta Force operative. Was he just fucking with him? Romeo looks at the shower, turns to Whisper and asks, “Whisper, let’s take a shower!” The C.I.A. operative ignores the muscled Delta Force man’s insinuation and tells him, “Go ahead.” Nomad shakes his head and begins cleaning his weapons along with Jamal. Sebastián just drops on his bunk and wishes there was another room in this bunker where he could get away from these people. As Banner is taking his shower, Whisper polishes her knives and fantasizes about cutting Romeo’s throat. He reminds her of one of Marco Baronti’s thugs and that evening in the warehouse that changed her life. When Romeo comes out of the shower, Whisper slowly removes all of her clothes and folds them on her bunk. The heavy weapons specialist begins to do push-ups. There is no music, but she still remembers one of her stripper routines and adapts it for her undressing, before slinking into the shower. The Delta Force operative says out loud, “I think I’m feeling dirty again.” Nomad warns him to be careful with her. “I wouldn’t try to sneak in there. She is a trained killer.” Romeo says quietly, “Hey, I’m just messing around a bit, no harm.” Whisper hears the first part of Nomad’s conversation and she almost wishes Romeo would so she could kick his ass. However, that wouldn’t be very teambuilding. So, instead, she begins to masturbate in the shower, very loudly! This sends Romeo back to the floor and his push-ups. Eventually the young woman comes out of the shower and dries herself very slowly. Romeo increases the speed of his push-ups. Nomad thinks to himself, “She is such a cock teaser!” Jamal whistles at her, but this doesn’t seem to upset the girl. She smiles at him and wiggles her ass a bit. Seeing this Romeo tells Whisper, “Hey just so you know girl, I am a trained chemist, you’re gonna give in eventually.” Whisper interprets this as a threat and turns, but Sebastián stands up for his fellow C.I.A. operative and sends a knife sailing by the Delta Force operator’s head. Romeo jumps up, turns to face the young driver, but just walks away. James Silva sits in the corner and wonders how he got stuck with this bunch of crazies. Finally Anubis, Nomad and Romeo sit down and play cards. Whisper plugs into her deck and works on some of her programs. *** Wednesday, March 5, 2070: Today begins the wait until Aries can get all of the gear to them and various assets in position for the strike next week. Nomad hopes they don’t all kill each other before then. Whisper unpacks her Electronic Warfare suite and begins to scan all the local frequencies. Today she succeeds in finding all the local police and governmental channels along with many that the various hotels use. In the afternoon, one of Aries’ local operators arrives and delivers the two Pilot Submersible +3 chips. Sebastián puts in one and Nomad puts in the other. *** Thursday, March 6, 2070: The Team remains quiet today and tries not to get in each other’s hair or on each other’s nerves. Whisper continues her radio scans and discovers the communication frequencies used by the Medellin Cartel in the area. She doesn’t learn anything particularly earth shaking and she isn’t able to pin down the exact locations of their transmitters, but does have their general direction. The tech will have to monitor these signals from different locations to get an exact fix. *** Friday, March 7, 2070: A second supply delivery comes today. These drop offs are done by one person to avoid suspicion so it will take one more delivery until all the equipment the Team requested is delivered. Still, the new gear gives most something to do, so they check and double check the arriving gear. Romeo keeps smiling at Whisper and she continues to pointedly ignore him. Boredom is really setting in so Sebastián challenges Romeo an arm wrestling contest. The Delta Force operative doesn’t take the kid seriously and pulls a muscle as the nomad runner slams the man’s arm down for a point of damage (he botched). Jamal examines the man’s arm. He will be fine in a few hours. Romeo insists on a rematch with opposite arms. In this contest the Delta Force soldier comes out on top (by a single point). When the nomad challenges him to two out of three, the soldier decides to walk away. Sebastián is about to get up when Whisper sits down opposite him, leans forward and puts up her arm in challenge. She says, “If I win you[\u] will give me a massage, if you win, well then, you will give me a massage.” Sebastián seems a little confused as he tries to decipher her emphasis while staring down the front of her shirt. Over this conversation Alex shakes his head and says quietly, “We SEALS just fight instead of these silly games.” Well, the young C.I.A. operative takes up the challenge of his young partner and promptly loses. Jamal, who immediately realizes what Whisper was up to breaks out laughing. Whisper gives her C.I.A. partner a smile. Sebastián ignores Whisper’s smile and immediately takes up Alex on his fight challenge. Both contestants have skinweave so no one initially scores any damage. Alex begins to grapple and throw the young man to get around his opponent’s skinweave. Romeo points out that the challenge was for a fist fight not a wrestling contest. Alex relies, “SEALS will do anything to win!” With that Alex tosses Sebastián into the concrete wall and knocks him out. Whisper helps the young man to his bunk and tends to his bruises. He is sore but otherwise fine. The NET Runner whispers in his ear, “You still owe me a massage.” *** Saturday, March 8, 2070: The Team recovers from their strains and bruises from yesterday. The last delivery of gear comes today and the Team inspects it. Whisper identifies the communications frequencies that a second cartel in the area is using. It is the group that calls itself the North Coast Cartel. They usually operate in the Caribbean, but it seems they may be expanding. *** Sunday, March 9, 2070: It is another boring day underground. At least Whisper has work to do. She is successful today in identifying a third cartel working in the area. It is called the Devil’s Cartel. With these frequencies and communications channels recognized she can now begin to acquire better intelligence on these organizations. *** Monday, March 10, 2070: With all the gear they need now in their possession, the Team goes over and over the plan. They will head out just after midnight tomorrow and take up positions near the target plantation. They will spend March 11th watching their target and prepare for their strike. The drone will be in the area at about 12am (midnight) on March 12th. Whisper will take control of it and use her detailed knowledge of the compounds location to strike the camouflaged target while the rest of the Team frees the prisoners. They will then go to the sub pens and steal two of them before destroying that facility and sailing away with two narco subs, the prisoners and themselves. That’s the plan anyway. Next: Episode 14 – The Plantation Raid
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