TRU Echo

Mission 004: Operation CERRIDWEN [Session 19.5]

Mission 004
Operation CERRIDWEN
Session 19.5 [Between session email exchange]
Session Date: 21 June – 5 July 2012
Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex, TJ

Location: Maryland
Game Date: 15 September

  • After leaving the Towers of Westchester, the group returns to the hotel where they’ve been staying, Hampton Inn College Park.
  • The group gathers their evidence and sets to work. Jack focuses on the blood sample from the Chinese man and hair sample from Shannon. With the tools at hand, Jack is only able to learn a little. He is able to determine that Shannon’s hair sample is free of any toxins and traces of drugs, and he can get a good idea of her levels of vitamins and minerals, which seem at normal levels.
  • The Chinese man’s blood reveals extremely high levels of Caesium-137 (radioactive isotope), which is consistent with the analysis of all the members of Red Sickle.
  • The 9mm gun’s serial number was filed off.
  • Research into Taliesin reveals the term is used to describe a number of things (a village in Wales, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Spring Green, Wisconsin, pop culture references, etc). However, all of these are inspired by a 6th century Welsh poet who also wrote a manuscript called Taliesin.
  • Taliesin was an early British poet of the post-Roman period whose work has possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, the Book of Taliesin. Taliesin was a renowned bard who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three Celtic British kings.
  • In further researching the poet the group learns that according to myth and legend, Taliesin began life as Gwion Bach, a servant to Ceridwen, the wife of a nobleman Tegid Foel, in the days when King Arthur ruled. She was a magician who had three arts she learned: enchantment, magic, and divination. The reference to Ceridwen certainly draws the groups attention.
  • Martin investigates the printer, hoping to recover print jobs from the printer’s memory. He is only able to recover one file. It appeared that Shannon meticulously manually deleted all the other print jobs from her printer’s memory. She tried to delete this file, but Martin is able to restore it.
    • A MS Word document that reads: Christine, I’m leaving this for you as a hardcopy, because I think my email’s been compromised. I think one of the groups…Mingfu, Department B, Red Sickle, Vympel – it could be any of them…are on to me. There must be a leak at IARPA. I have to get out of town and lay low. You’re the only one that knows about everything. Watch out for TRU Echo. They may recognize you, and they may be the group coming for me. Destroy this after you read it. Please keep an eye on my parents. -Shannon
  • Shannon has a brother, Sam, who lives in Spain. He is an architect and single.
  • Martin is able to hack Shannon’s mail, though she did a good job of encrypting it with some of the best commercially available software. Her mail inbox and outbox are clean. However, she has an email in draft. Apparently she was using her email to type notes to herself. By keeping the mail in her drafts, she was able to access the file anywhere, without the risk of it being intercepted. The email notes read:
    • Add to master file at work:
    • Mingfu/PLA – Tangshan (what is at this location?…called a Gateway)
    • Department B – TRU Bravo (New York) / TRU Echo (Atlanta) – possible nuclear plot? TRU Echo has ties to Russia (Red Sickle), Germany, Algeria. Made contact with Orlando Thomas, known spy for Russia based in Czech Republic.
    • Vympel – Group called Red Sickle is somehow affiliated (also possibly affiliated with TRU Echo)
  • Additional possible research: the group can conduct additional research on the gun, bullets, and fingerprints, but not without either gaining access to some police databases or calling in favors from friends. Let me know if that is something the group wants to pursue. Anything else?
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Mission 004: Operation CERRIDWEN [Session 19]

Mission 004

Operation CERRIDWEN
Session 19

Session Date: 21 June 2012




Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex

Location: Towers of Westchester Park, Maryland


Game Date: 15 September


  • Jack arrives on a red eye flight from Atlanta. Adrian picks Jack up at the airport and rendezvous with the group at Shannon’s apartment.
  • Once at the apartment complex the group splits up. Martin finds a layout of the apartment complex, providing location information for apartment 810. He stays in one of the groups vehicles and tries to hack into Shannon’s internet. Marcus takes up a position under heavy foliage north of the apartment complex where he can keep an eye on apartment 810. Lincoln checks out the complex for security. Adrian and Jack approach the apartment manager about getting a tour.
  • The apartment manager, a girl in her mid-20s named Michelle, seems very eager to please, and readily takes Jack and Adrian to the 8th floor, where they tour apartment 806.
  • Marcus spies someone partially opening the blinds for the door that leads from the bedroom to the patio in apartment 810. Marcus can make out the silhouette of a tall, slender person – probably a man. Jack and Adrian, who were on the patio of apartment 806 with Michelle, also see the man’s silhouette. Adrian surreptitiously calls Jack, giving Jack a chance to excuse himself.
  • Jacks sneaks into apartment 810. He hears the blinds in the bedroom shift. He tries sneaking through the living room and onto the patio. At that same time, the man in the bedroom walks out onto the patio. He looks around; Adrian notices he is Asian, maybe Chinese. The man sees Jack trying to sneak through the living room and he draws a handgun and aims for Jack.
  • Jack moves for the apartment door, Michelle runs, Adrian tries to hide and pulls out her derringer. Marcus runs for the car where his sniper rifle is hidden.
  • The Chinese man notices Adrian and shifts his attention and aim for her. She responds by firing at him, glancing his side. She ducks back inside apartment 806 for cover. Jack hides outside apartment 810, readying himself in case the Chinese man flees the apartment.
  • Marcus makes it to the car, alerts Marin, assembles his rifle, and heads back to the concealment of the woods north of the apartment complex.
  • Martin runs for the apartment complex’s poolside entrance, grabbing Lincoln on the way. They make their way into the building and wait for the elevator.
  • The Chinese man climbs over the patio railing and drops down to the patio for apartment 710. He balances on the railing for apartment 710’s patio with inhuman ease. He jumps down to the patio shoots the patio door out and runs for the door.
  • The “BANG, BANG, BANG” of the Chinese man’s 9mm is followed by the relative thunderous roar of Hawkeye’s high-powered rifle. The rifle round hits the Chinese man in his back and takes out most of his chest. He fails dead to the ground, blood mixing with shards of glass.
  • Jack begins searching apartment 810. Martin and Lincoln arrive on the 8th floor and see Adrian making her way to the 7th floor in pursuit of the Chinese man. Realizing that he’s no longer a threat, Adrian and Lincoln go to apartment 810 to help Jack search, while Martin goes to apartment 710. Martin breaks into the apartment, searches the Chinese man, and finds the 9mm gun and an extra clip, US currency, Chinese currency, and Shannon McLeod’s access badge for IARPA.
  • Jack, Adrian, and Lincoln search the entire apartment. Adrian finds clothes and cosmetics laid out on Shannon’s bed in a manner that indicates she had packed some belongings and left the apartment in haste. Jack takes a couple family pictures off the wall – one with the family at what appears to be a family lakehouse. On the back is a note that reads “At the lake house, October 1997, mom, dad, me, and Sam.”
  • Jack also finds a note hidden under Shannon’s computer desk. The notes reads: “01010100 01100001 01101100 01101001 01100101 01110011 01101001 01101110 00001010”, which the group quickly deduces is binary for “Taliesin.” Jack also takes hair samples from one of Shannon’s pillows. Finally, just as Jack goes to leave, he hears a voice from God (aka, Braon meta-gaming and telling Lex what to do out of character), and thinks to grab the wifi printer on Shannon’s computer desk.
  • Hearing the sound of police sirens off in the distance, the group flees. Jack pulls the fire alarm, creating enough chaos for the group to slip away unnoticed. When the rendezvous, Jack takes fingerprints and bloods samples from the Chinese man’s belongings that Martin had taken.
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Mission 004: Operation CERRIDWEN [Session 18]

One year anniversary session. Can’t believe we’ve been playing the campaign this long.

Mission 004
Operation CERRIDWEN
Session 18
Session Date: 7 June 2012



Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, TJ

Location: Atlanta, Georgia; Riverdale Park, Maryland


Game Date: 9 – 15 September


Atlanta, 11 September (Saturday)

  • It has been over a week since the group last met with Department B. Since that time, each member of TRU Echo has spent their down time tending to personal business. During this time, Adrian and Meet and discuss the issue of her brother again. They agree the best course of action would be for Adrian to simply go to the Department B facility at the Atlanta DHS field office and ask Department B for help in securing a warrant for the phone records.
  • When they arrive at the facility, they find the nondescript door that opens to the stairs that lead to the hidden Department B facility is locked. Adrian considers trying to pick the lock and disabling the security cameras in the area, but Martin convinces her it’s a bad idea.
  • The two call the rest of the members of TRU Echo and ask to meet. Within a few hours everyone except Jack has rendezvoused in Martin’s hotel room in an upscale Atlanta suburb. Adrian tells the group about her brother and about her concerns that Department B’s facility in Atlanta was locked up. Marcus, whose day job is serving as a security guard for the overt operations at the DHS facility, confirms he hasn’t seen Carla in a few days.
  • Adrian gives her brother’s information to Lincoln. Lincoln calls a buddy on the Atlanta police force and asks him to run the name. Meanwhile the group grabs a meal together and spends some time on the shooting range.
  • Lincoln gets a call back a while later. His friend tells Lincoln there were no results at all for anyone with Adrian’s brother’s name or biographical information.
  • The group then sets out to conduct an analysis of the phone message Adrian’s brother left. Martin sets up the computer software needed to perform the analysis, and then the entire group leverages their individual investigation specialties to decipher any clues. The only information they are able to glean is the call was made from a cell phone in a relatively quiet outdoors environment. There were no other voices on the phone. It appeared to be windy during the call.
  • With very few concrete leads from the audio tape, Martin begins reaching out to his hacker community and asking for help in tracking down the origin of the call. He knows it will take a few days to get the information he needs.

Location: Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations Directorate, Special Agent in Charge Principle Field Office – Atlanta, GA.

Date: 12 September 2011 (Sunday)
Time: 0800

  • Everyone in the group receives a call from a woman which whom they are not familiar. She doesn’t give a name; she simply instructs them to “Come in. We have a job for you.”
  • The group, with the exception of Jack, rendezvous at Department B’s facility in Atlanta. They are greeted by a professional, middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Agent Fraus. She instructs the group to wait for their new handler. Adrian asks Agent Fraus what happened to Carla, and Agent Fraus replies that she believes Carla has either been reassigned or quit.
  • Minutes later TRU Echo’s new Special Agent in Charge, Agent Dolos, enters the room. He greets the group. In stark contrast to Shepherd, Agent Dolos appears very professional. He also seems very familiar with TRU Echo’s recent missions and congratulates them on great work.
  • In the briefing room, Agent Dolos provides the group a briefing packet for their newest mission, Operation CERRIDWEN. It seems Department B has learned who has been spying on Department B and TRU Echo. Shannon Mcleod (who goes by the cover name CERRIDWEN), a former NSA cryptological analyst and linguist who now works for the Intelligence Advanceded Research Projects Activity, has apparently been intercepting the group communications. Agent Dolos instructs the group they are to find Shannon and bring her in to Department B for questioning and debrief. Under no circumstances are they to question her about her activities.
  • The group has IARPA’s location, which is in the University of Maryland’s Research Park, as well as aerial photography and a map of the location. They decide to take a day to let Agent Fraus provide them with fake drivers licenses. In the mean time, Lincoln asks Jack for help in acquiring powerful sedatives, and Lincoln also gets a tranquilizer gun.

Maryland, 13 September (Monday)

  • The next morning Agent Fraus provides the group the fake IDs, and they drive to Maryland in their Toyota 4Runner and Audi A8. They make a few reconnaissance runs around the IARPA facility to get an idea about the level of security. The entire complex is fence-secured with barb wire fence, and there is a guard shack at the entry control point. The group discovers a jogging trail just a few hundred feet east of the IARPA facility. Marcus uses the jogging trail to position himself in heavy foliage east of the facility so he can covert watch as people leave work for the day. He never sees CERRIDWEN.

Maryland, 14 September (Tuesday)

  • Early the next morning Marcus sets back up and watches who comes to work. Once again he never sees CERRIDWEN.
  • Adrian approaches the guard shack in the Audi A8 by herself. She tells the guards she is in town and wanted to look up her friend. She doesn’t offer specifics, but she charms the guard and he tells her to go ahead to the facility’s front desk and ask if she can call her friend from there.
  • At the front desk one of the guards informs Adrian that Shannon didn’t come to work, and in fact she wasn’t at work the day before. He doesn’t know why she was out, just that he didn’t see her come in.
  • The group begins to worry that perhaps CERRIDWEN is on to them, tracking them via their cell phones. They construct an elaborate plan to try to draw her out. They go to the Vietnam Memorial at the Mall in Washington DC. They talk about going to the Memorial over their cells and provide detailed specifics in case CERRIDWEN is listening in. She doesn’t show while their at the memorial.
  • The group then pays a currier to drive to Atlanta and deliver their cell phones to Jack. They instruct Jack to make it look as if the group is going about their daily routine, hoping to trick CERRIDWEN if she is tracking the cell phones’ locations. Meanwhile, the group gets new cell phones.
  • That night Marcus once again watches the compound. Like the previous night, there appears to only be two security guards. However there are security cameras (potentially, it’s difficult to tell for sure, as the cameras are housed in dark globes) positioned around the entire building. The group contemplates a wide variety of approaches to gain access to the building, but they finally decide it might be better to go a different route. Lincoln and Martin are able to find Shannon’s home address through some routine investigative work.

Maryland, 15 September (Wednesday)

  • Early the next morning the group travels to Shannon’s apartment complex, located just minutes from the IARPA facility. Shannon lives on the 8th floor of the complex, and while it is technically access controlled with key cards, the groups sees people regularly “tail gate” after one another. Gaining access to Shannon’s apartment should be simple enough.
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Interlude: Reflections [Session 17]

Session 17


Session Date: 24 May 2012



Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex, TJ

Location: Algeria; Atlanta, Georgia


Game Date: 24 August; 27-30 August


Algeria

  • The group flees the Red Sickle camp in the In Ekker mountains in Algeria.
  • They drive through Algeria, largely retracing the route they took to In Ekker, though making sure to avoid Ain Salah.
  • Eventually the Mossad agent, Kamal Jamili, recovers enough to speak with the group. He is extremely thankful, especially to Jack. He is upset about the loss of his partner, but accepts the news. He is forthcoming about the information he knows, revealing the following:
    • Red Sickle, defected from Russia’s Vympel group or Directorate B. Vympel was formed the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, as a dedicated spetsnaz unit specialized in deep penetration, sabotage, universal direct and covert action, protection of Soviet embassies and espionage cell activation in case of war. In fact Vympel was more like TRUs and Department B, acting as super secret intelligence and covert action against highest level threats.
    • Red Sickle defected after fall of Soviet Union. Not heard from for many years. Appeared in Israeli intelligence within the last year, after dealings with North Koreans, Pakistanis, and Algerians.
    • Contact in North Korea was Typhon (aka Dr. Nho Hyun-Shik)
    • Current whereabouts of Red Sickle is unknown, though Natalia Karnof had been in Germany during Operation DIRTY RAIL.
    • When asked about what “The Basement” is, Kamal says he’s always heard it used as an obscure reference to intelligence, espionage, and covert action related to nuclear terrorism and classified research; however, he admits that when he’s heard the term, it has always been used cryptically.
  • Once the group reaches the airport in Morocco, they part ways with Kamal. But he gives them a number to contact him and tells the group to call any time they need help. He says they’re on the same side now in their efforts to combat Red Sickle.

Atlanta

  • On 27 August the group lands at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. WIthin minutes of landing the group is called by Shepherd. Shepherd tells Martin and Jack to come straight to the office in Atlanta, while giving the rest of the group some time off. Adrian joins Jack and Martin, while Marcus and Lincoln take some time off.
  • When Martin and Jack arrive it is obvious Shepherd is eager to hear about what happened, but Shepherd tells them to conduct exploitation of materials they brought back rather than providing a debrief. Shepherd says he wants a full debrief by the entire group in a couple days.
  • Martin works with a couple Department B tech specialists who go by the names Input and Output. Martin is able to decrypt the information he took from the bunker and recover some of the damaged and degraded files through advanced digital forensics.
  • Martin discovers the following (most of the information was in Korea. Martin uses Department B’s advanced automated translation algorithms and is assisted by Adrian):
    • Most of the information is divided into two folders. One titled “Project – Chimera” and the other “Project – 지옥” (transcribed as Ji Ok and roughly translated to Hell / Underworld”
    • Dr. Nho Hyun-Shik (Typhon) was assigned over two projects: Chimera and Ji Ok (Hell).  He was to build a subterranean complex for testing the development of chimera (hybrids) while also building a complex for creating a door.
    • Email from typhon@yongbyn.pk:  “Red Sickle, rendezvous with others and transfer materials to Hanjin Shipping at the Port of Hamburg.” 
    • email from Samjok-o (삼족오) yongbyon.pk to typhonyongbyn.pk  “The Chimera’s time has come.”
    • Information recovered for the projects: Prolonged exploration of the Subterrestrial Environment via the Sangpyong-ri doorway has revealed unexpected physiological modifications to humans.  Recommend the establishment of two programs.  Project Chimera will focus on the purposeful creation of chimera through artificial hybridization.  Hybridization will be achieved by combining human test subjects with subterrestrial xenofauna through localized, controlled exposure to nuclear material.  Project 지옥 (Ji Ok) will establish a permanent subterrestrial doorway through a contained, subterranean nuclear detonation of approximately 5 kilotons.   Both projects will be created in the Algerian In Ekker mountains, near the former French nuclear tests sites according to the specifications of the partner.
    • Blueprints for a nuclear test tunnel on the site where the excavator was digging. 
    • Diagram for the creation of a nuclear test reactor.
    • Diagram for creation of chimera through the molecular modification of humans and Basement creatures.
    • Nuclear waste materials had already been acquired from a number of locations, to include North Korea and Pakistan.  These materials were stored in the hanger and were being used for Project Chimera and were planned to also be used for Project Ji Ok. 
  • Meanwhile, Jack examines the biological samples he recovered from Khal Orlov (from the bunker in Reggane). According to Department B databases, the samples belong to Khal Orlov. Background info – ethnic Armenian. File reports him as former member of Vympel, current member of Red Sickle Cell. Skin sample shows physical evidence of nuclear radiation burns but he is completely free of any type of disease. No evidence of damage at the cellular level.
  • While Jack, Martin, and Adrian are at the Department B Atlanta office, Marcus and Lincoln each return to their homes. Lincoln is called by his old department, where he still does some contract work, primarily related to training new SWAT members. Lincoln is asked if he would consider coming back to the department to take a job as a sergeant for one of the SWAT teams. Marcus’ day is relaxing and uneventful, but at night he has nightmares of the creature from Ekker ripping apart his deceased wife.
  • When Adrian finishes up her work with Jack and Martin, she returns to her house. There she finds a phone message from her brother who she hasn’t heard from in years. The message is “Just wanted to check on you. Everything is going well with me. Talk to you later.” The call was from an unlisted number. She jots down the time and date of the message and makes a mental note to ask Martin if he can help her track down where the call originated.
  • After a couple days of rest and relaxation, the group is called in for a debrief with Shepherd. Shepherd listens carefully as the group recounts what happened. When the group mentions the unusual nature of Khal Orlov and Santin Yuchenko, the strange squid creature, and the monster hybrid, Shepherd seems disturbed. However, a couple members of the group suspects based on his body language, that he’s not completely surprised.
  • Shepherd’s primary concern from the debrief is the group left hundreds of barrels of radioactive material from North Korea and Pakistan at the In Ekker mountains. He says, “the Bosses aren’t going to like this.”
  • Regardless, Shepherd is very proud of the group and asks to take them out for drinks. The group agrees, and they all head for a local country music bar.
  • The group settles in to what is obviously Shepherd’s normal table. He’s greeted by all the bar’s wait staff. He buys the group a round of tequila shots, followed by beer and wine. As the mood eases, shop talk begins.
  • A group of women from a bachelorette party arrive at the bar. All of them are attractive, wearing flattering business casual attire, and appear to be young professionals. They also appear to already be well on their way to being drunk. The catch the glimpses of a couple members of the group and start some flirtation.
  • The group engages in small talk, while the flirtation between the bachelorette party and a few of the guys increases. Lincoln and Martin begin chatting the girls up. A few of them approach the table, trying to get Jack and Marcus involved, but neither are interested. Adrian is a bit defensive of her friends and lets the girls know it.
  • After the first couple rounds, Shepherd leans in and asks the group for their “real take” on Department B “…you know, away from the office.” It appears to the group that Shepherd has started to like them personally and they’ve won his trust. It’s obvious that he cares for them and is proud of them. The group begins to respond before being interrupted but a couple of the girls again. They are obviously drunk, with one of them spilling some of her drink on Marcus. Shepherd seems annoyed by the girls and calls it quits. He tells the group he’ll call them soon.
  • Meanwhile the flirtation between one of the girls and Martin heats up. They trade stories about their jobs. The girl, Amber Wilkins, is a flight attendant with Delta and typically travels international routes to western Europe. Martin probably reveals a bit more than he should about his recent travels, but indicates he has a fairly mundane computer job.
  • Amber tries buying Martin a couple drinks and he’s pretty sure she slips something in the drink he’s been sipping on for a while. He fights off the effects of the drug and politely declines when she asks him to go back to her place.
  • The night ends with the girls stumbling out of the bar drunk. The group goes their separate ways and spends the next couple days relaxing.
  • During their downtime, Martin does a bit of snooping around for Adrian, researching the call she received from her brother. He can isolate the local exchange for the call from an AT&T system, but he knows that hacking in to get the information is dangerous and extremely illegal. Using Department B computers would similarly be a bad call if he were to be found out. He lets Adrian know and suggests that if she is truly interested, she should pursue trying to “convince” the powers that be to give her the right paperwork.
  • When the group finally hears from Department B, its Carla that calls them in, not Shepherd. When the group arrives at the Atlanta office, Carla instructs the guys to go into one briefing room and Adrian to go into a separate briefing room. Adrian senses something amiss with Carla and subtly takes a letter opener from the secretary’s desk.
  • Within a few minutes, a beautiful, well-dressed woman of an undeterminable ethnicity walks into the room with the guys. She’s tall, thin, dressed in a custom-fitted business suit that accentuates her curves. She has olive an complexion, with sharp features, and black eyes and hair. When she enters the room, Jack again experiences a strange sensation, wherein his senses seem dulled and time seems to stand still. His vision clouds, but he gets a very strange sensation that something is “wrong.” Meanwhile, Marcus gets an odd taste in his mouth and a tingle up his spine. The sensation is eerily similar to the way he felt when he first saw the monster creature in the bunker in the In Ekker mountains.
  • The women greets the group and introduces herself as Agent Pythia, a psychiatrist and psychologist on retainer with Department B. She asks the group to repeat their debrief for the latest operation. When they finish, she begins to question if perhaps they were wrong about what they saw concerning the members of Red Sickle, the squid, and the monster. She references the fact that Martin never saw the monster, and Marcus also suggests that perhaps the nuclear radiation and stress of the environment perhaps contributed to them hallucinating. By the end of the conversation, Agent Pythia has planted a seed of doubt with the guys. She also “suggests” to the group they should forget about what happened, and both Martin and Martin instantly forget the specifics of what happened in the bunker at In Ekker. She leaves a stack of paperwork for the guys to fill out and tells them not to leave until Carla comes into the room.
  • Meanwhile, when Adrian enters her briefing room, she is greeted with a mound of paperwork. It takes her about a half hour to complete the documentation. Not long after she’s down, the door opens and in walks a handsome man. He shares the same physical traits as Pythia. He’s tall, with an olive complexion, dark hair, and dark eyes. He’s dressed in an expensive, designer business suit. He introduces himself as agent Pytho. Despite herself, Adrian can’t help but be attracted to him. They talk for a while, with Pytho asking Adrian about the specifics of her most recent mission. He focuses on her statements about Red Sickle, the squid, and the monster, and asks Adrian if perhaps she’s mistaken. Adrian senses Pytho has an agenda and is trying to manipulate her, but she doesn’t tip her hand. At the end of the conversation, Pytho suggests Adrian should forget about what happened and she agrees. She knows for certain her was trying to manipulate her, and she feels that although he certainly has a sly tongue, he was trying to rely on sheer willpower to cause her to forget what happened.
  • During their meetings, both Pythia and Pytho reveal that Shepherd has been “removed” as the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta office for Department B because of his “issues.” Shepherd is to be replaced with an as yet undetermined agent from Department B, who will contact the members of TRU Echo when they’re needed again. In the mean time, the group is on leave.
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Mission 003: Opertion GERBOISE [session 16]

Mission 003


Operation GERBOISE


Session 16


Session Date: 10 May 2012


Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex, TJ

Location: In Ekker, Algeria 


Game Date: 24 August


Game Time: 2000

  • The group rests for a few minutes, with Marcus making sure Martin is alright. Once Martin is up, the group spreads out around the camp once again. Marcus searches the camp for anyone who may be hiding. Martin moves the armored personnel carrier to the center of camp, where the concrete bunker, camouflage covered structure, and a hanger constructed of sheet metal are located. Lincoln serves as a lookout. Adrian radios Jack and asks for a status update. Jack informs Adrian that he and the Mossad agent are just a few minutes away from the camp.
  • Jack rendezvous with the rest of the group, and they complete their inspection of the central portion of the camp. The hanger serves as a storage location for barrels marked with radioactive hazard signs. The camouflage net covered building was actually a pair of 20’ long standardized shipping containers. They housed bunk beads, which had apparently served as the living quarters for the gunmen living at the compound.
  • As the group discusses their next actions the ground suddenly and violently rumbles below them. Martin checks the make-shift geiger counter and realizes that the radiation levels in the area have also spiked. Most of the group’s equipment also experiences electro-magnetic interference.
  • The group debates whether going into the bunker is a smart idea, given that they believe a small scale nuclear explosion may have just occurred. Marcus ends the debate when he announces he’s going in – alone if need be. Lincoln quickly joins Marcus and the two lead the way into the bunker. Martin and Jack linger behind a bit. Adrian takes up the rear, hoping to be able to stay out of the way of trouble but provide assistance if absolutely necessary.
  • Stairs lead down into the bunker, descending about 50’ before coming to a set of massive steel doors. Inside, the group finds an large, abandoned area with a side room that apparently serves as a living area but was empty. Another set of stairs lead further down. From the abandoned room, the group can hear the frantic, painful calls of a man speaking Arabic. He yells in pain and then screams, “NO! PLEASE! STOP!”
  • Jack gets a very bad feeling about the situation. He mentions it to the others. Martin and Adrian both voice concerns about going further, but Marcus and Lincoln press on. They move as stealthily as possible down the stairs, with their guns drawn.
  • The stairs lead into a small room containing banks of computer servers and a couple terminal monitors. The screams get more frantic and then suddenly stop.
  • As the stealthiest of the group, Lincoln takes point. He leads the group into an adjacent room that contains even more banks of computer servers. Data and power lines run everywhere, indicating little regard for permanence or safety by whoever was running the operation. Lincoln moves across the room, and from the doorway he can see into the adjacent room. It’s a large, laboratory like design with two huge beds. On one bed is a human whose flesh appears to have been burned off. Bone and muscle tissue are exposed. On the other bed is a strange, squid-like creature. It measures about ten feet long, with jet black skin. Alongside the beds are three men. Two are dressed in heavy suits apparently designed to provide protection agent radiation exposure. The third man wears no such protective gear; instead, he is garbed in an expensive suit. He is a massive man with Slavic features as a thick, dropping mustache. Lincoln recognizes him as Santin Yuchenko, leader of red Sickle. Like the other members of Red Sickle that the group has encountered, Santin’s skull and fingers are elongated.
  • Lincoln signals to the rest of the group that there are three targets and then Lincoln, Marcus, and Martin charge in. They all focus their gunfire on Yuchenko. He takes round after round and though injured, does not drop.
  • Jack swoons. The squid-like creature draws his attention, and he instinctively knows that everything here is wrong. His vision becomes blurred and his hearing muffled. His psyche is yelling at him, warning him. This is wrong.
  • During the fight, Martin gets a closer look at the squid-like creature, realizing it’s not a squid at all. Though superficially similar, the creature has a massive maw filled with long, razor-sharp teeth, and its tentacles are covered with wicked barbs. Strangest of all, the creature’s body seems to fade in an out of existence, constantly shifting in transparency. Martin yells to the group that there is something strange about the creature, but they maintain their focus on Yuchenko.
  • As Yuchenko recovers from the attacks, he begins to make his way across the room. He leaps onto the bed with the squid-like creature of from their launches in an assault against Lincoln. Lincoln unloads on Yuchenko with both his pistols, finally dropping the mutated man.
  • Lincoln fires a couple rounds at the semi-transparent squid creature, though the bullets travel right through the creature, having no effect.
  • During the firefight, one of the men wearing the protective suits – the leader apparently – directs the other to “destroy the computers.” The man speaks in Arabic, but with an accent Adrian places as Korean. Adrian yells back to the man, but he doesn’t respond. Instead, the men flee in different directions. Marcus chases the leader down and guns him down with his rifle. Lincoln and Martin chase the other man down into another computer room.
  • The man joins another man, also wearing a protective suit, who had apparently been in the computer room during the firefight. It’s clear they were attempting to destroy files on one of the computers. Martin and Lincoln fire at the men, killing one and wounding the other. The wounded man responds by grabbing a handgun Martin had holstered and shooting himself in the head.
  • The squid-like creature continues to shift in transparency until it eventually becomes completely invisible, presumably fading from existence altogether. Just then, a low growl emerges from an unexplored hallway in the bunker.
  • Martin begins to download files from the computer, while Adrian calls out to the group, reminding them of the dangerously high radiation levels in the area. Marcus positions himself in the hallway, providing a buffer between the whatever is causing the growling and the rest of the group. Lincoln, Jack, and Adrian take aim as best they can down the hallway.
  • At the end of the hallway faint lights being cast by what the group assumes to be more computer equipment. They peer into the hallway, waiting for whatever is causing the growling to emerge. The creature draws nearer and nearer.
  • Martin works furiously to make sense of the computer’s interface, which is written in Korean. Finally he cracks the security and encryption. He jams a thumb-drive into the computer and begins to download whatever remains from the destroyed files.
  • And just then the growling creature comes into sight. Standing about 10’ tall, the creature is a nightmarish combination of man and the squid-like creature the group had just seen. The base of the creature consists of five massive, barbed tentacles. Its torso is humanlike, but its arms and hands are elongated and exaggerated. At the top of the torso are more tentacles and a massive head that appears as a combination of a human face with the squid-like creatures horrible maw.
  • Adrian, Jack, Lincoln, and Marcus are stunned, unable to react. Jack realizes the truth now. He’s always known, somehow, but the truth is laid out before him, undeniable. His sixth sense tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen. They should have all fled this unearthly place. Martin, still working in the computer room to download the files, notices the silence but continues his work.
  • The creatures moves forward and stands over Marcus. It’s tentacles writhe and it stares into Marcus eyes. Marcus vision becomes clouded and he envisions the creature tearing apart his wife, ripping her body in half and then devouring it. It doesn’t make sense. She’s dead. Marcus’ mind snaps. He fights away the visions and recovers from the stun, but he turns and flees, racing for the stairs that will lead to safety.
  • Lincoln and Jack shake off the initial fear that washed over them when they saw the creature. The open fire on it; their bullets pierce the creatures flesh, but seem to have no effect.
  • Adrian screams, “Martin come on! We have to get out of here! Don’t look down the hall! Whatever you do, don’t look down the hall!”
  • Sensing the urgency of the situation, Martin pulls the thumb-drive out of the computer, hoping he recovered precious information that might shed some information on what was happening here, and runs for the stairs too. On the way he passes by Lincoln and Jack, yelling for them to join him.
  • Jack and Lincoln each fire at the creature again, but realize their bullets have no effect. They turn to run. But as Lincoln is fleeing he notices something strange. The creature begins to decay rapidly. Its tentacles and arms turn to ash, and one by one they fall apart. Within only a few seconds, the entire creature has completely disintegrated. Regardless, the group flees the bunker.
  • On the surface, they find Marcus readying a vehicle for their departure.
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Mission 003: Opertion GERBOISE [session 15]

Mission 003

Operation GERBOISE

Session 15

Session Date: 26 April 2012

Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, TJ

Location: In Ekker, Algeria 

Game Date: 24 August

Game Time: 1300

  • The group travels south from Ain Salah toIn Ekker. The In Ekker mountain where the French conducted nuclear tests in the 1960s rises up abruptly out of the barren landscape. Black, greasy smoke drifts up from the central portion of the mountains, indicating human activity.
  • The group decides to investigate a small gas station, which is situated near the ruins of an old French base camp. The gas station is manned by two Algerian men. The attendant who meets the group is unfriendly and suspicious of the group. He pretends not to understand Marcus and ignores questions about activity at the nearby mountain.
  • Suspecting the attendant may be working for Red Sickle, Martin convinces Marcus to shoot out the phone line leading to the gas station. When the attendants come out to investigate, the group convinces them that their cargo truck is backfired due to mechanical trouble.
  • The group heads south, finds an old road that skirts around the southwestern side of the In Ekker mountains, and eventually decides to leave their truck behind so they can continue up the mountainside on foot. Jack stays behind to tend to the still seriously wounded Mossad agent.
  • After a couple hours of climbing the mountain, the group comes to a peak that provides a good vantage point. Down below, nestled between two of the mountains’ ridge lines, is a newly constructed base camp and a massive excavator. Through his high-powered scope, Marcus takes note of activity at the camp. The camp consists of a combination of military equipment and vehicles and civilian engineering equipment. A trench surrounds most of the camp, and four watch towers are positioned along the trench. A helicopter, two mobile surface-to-air missile systems, an armored personnel carrier, military cargo trucks, and armed gunmen are also present.
  • The group monitors the site for a couple hours, planning to wait until night before taking any action. However, a vehicle arrives at the compound and a meeting ensues that culminates with men going to the helicopter and departing the camp. Martin is able to modify the shortwave radios he stole from the hospital in Ain Salah to eavesdrop on communications from the camp. Marcus and Adrian are able to translate the communications. They realize the men manning the helicopter are searching for the group’s truck.
  • The group contacts Jack and tell him to get away from the truck and hide. Jack moves the truck, pumps the Mossad agent full of pain killers, and starts up the mountain so he can rendezvous with the rest of the group.
  • The group watches as the helicopter circles around the mountains, searching for the truck. Hoping to cause a diversion, Marcus shoots a massive fuel container, causing it to explode and taking a cargo truck with it. The camp erupts into chaos. Someone from the camp radios the helicopter and tells the pilot to return to the area around the camp to search for the attackers.
  • Marcus snipes one of the gunmen at the camp while Lincoln finds a rocky outcropping close-by where the group can hide. As the helicopter approaches, the group hides under the outcropping. As it passes by, the group takes aim. Marcus and Lincoln shoot at the helicopter, but do little more than superficial damage. Martin, however, takes aim with an AK-47 he took from the Algerian soldiers the group fought in Reggane. He unloads most of the magazine, and his aim is true as a he scores a direct hit on the helicopter’s fuel tank. The helicopter bursts into a massive fireball.
  • Someone calls out on the radio from the camp below, instructing the gunmen that the attackers must be armed with rocket-propelled grenades or a missile launcher. Groups of gunmen start gathering together in the military cargo trucks and leaving the camp, presumably to search for the attackers. However, the only way out of the camp via vehicle is the east – the direction opposite of the group. This leaves the camp with only a handful of gunmen to protect it.
  • Seeing their window of opportunity, the group decides to assault the camp. Lincoln leads the group down the mountainside, using his stealth training to help the others stay hidden from the gunmen in the watchtowers.
  • When the group arrives at the camp, they split up. Marcus stays behind, so he can use his sniper rifle to pick off gunmen from afar. Martin and Adrian move toward a cargo truck and the armored personnel carrier positioned at the camp’s entry control point, and Lincoln moves to the closest watchtower.
  • Lincoln initiates the assault by sneaking into the watchtower and firing on a gunmen. Martin and Adrian follow-suit. Adrian sneaks up to the cargo truck and kills an unsuspecting guard. Martin shoots the gunman who had been manning the armored personnel carrier’s turret and then moves to replace him. Marcus continues to snipe gunmen in the camp.
  • The gunmen who had been operating the mobile surface-to-air missile systems drive toward the watchtower Lincoln attacked and position the mobile systems behind huge dump trucks. However, a portion of the missile systems protrude above the dump trucks’ beds, giving Lincoln just enough of a target. He fires on the exposed missiles, detonating one, which sets off a chain reaction that results in the explosion of the vehicle, while also “cooking off” the remaining missiles which fire ballistically into the night sky.
  • As Martin mans the armored personnel vehicle’s turret, he leaves himself exposed to two gunmen, they open fire. Hitting him with a pair of rounds. His bulletproof vest absorbs the rounds, but he’s still stunned by the attacks. He tries to return fire with the turret’s machine-gun, but his unfamiliarity with the system and his injuries limit his accuracy. The gunmen return fire again, and their attacks are well aimed. Three more rounds strike Martin, the last one knocking him unconscious.
  • A previously unseen gunmen emerges from the camp’s command post building, rushes out to the remaining mobile missile launcher, and the vehicle’s driver speeds away for the camp’s entrance. The driver tries to smashes into a gate and a pile of sandbags, but is eventually able to recover and flee from the battle.
  • Adrian braves gunfire from the remaining gunmen in the watchtowers, moves to the armored personnel carrier, pulls Martin out of the turret, flees to a cargo truck, and speeds across the camp to try to find cover.
  • Lincoln and Marcus focus their attacks on the remaining gunmen, killing all but one. He jumps out of the watchtower and escapes on foot from the camp.
  • By the end of the battle, the group had destroyed a fuel tank (which resulting in also blowing up a cargo truck and its driver), the helicopter, one of the mobile missile systems, and gunning down about a dozen guards. Only Martin had sustained damage. Although his bulletproof vest protected him from the worst of the damage, he was still knocked unconscious. Marcus’ first aid skilled proved critical in stabilizing Martin.
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Mission 003: Opertion GERBOISE [session 14]

Mission 003

Operation GERBOISE

Session 14

Session Date: 11 April 2012

Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex

Location: Ain SAlah, Algeria 

Game Date: 24 August

Game Time: 0400

  • Martin joins Lincoln, Adrian, and Jack as they discuss their plans. Jack convinces the rest of the group to give him a couple more hours to work on the Mossad agent. Adrian stresses that the group shouldn’t tell Marcus the true about the rebels – that they’re actually a branch of Al Qaeda.
  • Lincoln tells the rest of the group he’s going back to the hotel to set up a safe-house in case they are attacked by either the military or the rebels.
  • Martin finds equipment in the hospital he can use to set up closed circuit security video cameras. He joins Lincoln in the hotel room and monitors the cameras for activity.
  • Marcus continues to provide help wherever he can to the doctors in the hospital’s emergency room.
  • Jack makes little progress on improving the Mossad agent’s health during the next hour.
  • Rocket and mortar attacks continue to rain down on the town, getting closer and closer to the hospital and hotel.
  • One of the rockets strike the front of the hotel, destroying one of the emergency room walls, injuring people, and causing chaos.
  • Marcus tries to help calm the situation down.
  • Martin sees a group of rebels leaving the hospital. The group includes a couple young men armed with weapons, but it also includes women and children strapped with suicide vests. At about the same time, Marcus leaves the hospital for the hotel and sees the group. He realizes what’s going on and attacks. Lincoln quickly moves to help him. Adrian also goes out onto the street to investigate.
  • Marcus and Lincoln take out the gunmen. Adrian is able to calm the women and children down, and the trio moves the women and children to the hotel.
  • Jack is able to make some progress on the Mossad agent and feels comfortable moving him to the hotel.
  • The group sets up in two different rooms in the hotel. In one room, Martin – with Jack’s assistance – works to bypass the anti-tamper device on the suicide vest. When he is able to remove the vest from one of the women, he gives the vest to Marcus.
  • Marcus takes the vest, rushes into the hospital’s cafeteria where the gunmen were building bombs and organizing their strategy, and tosses the suicide vest into the middle of a pile of explosives that were meant to be used for the creation of improvised explosive devices. Marcus flees from the hospital and uses a remote detonator designed by Martin. The suicide vest explodes, taking a significant portion of the hospital with it.
  • Back at the hotel, Jack is able to come up with a technique that will assist Martin in defusing the vests, but Martin is still forced to manually remove each vest – a very dangerous feat. However, is successful in removing all the vests from the women and children.
  • With the Mossad agent stable and with a significant cache of medical supplies thanks to Lincoln’s earlier work, the group steals a cargo truck and heads out of the south side of town into the barren desert landscape. The group is successfully able to navigate the difficult terrain, avoiding the military checkpoint that was setup on the southern road out of town.
  • Clear of the checkpoint, the group makes their way back onto the southern road and heads for Ekker, where they hope to find answers about the Red Sickle’s plans in Algeria.
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Mission 003: Opertion GERBOISE [session 13]

Mission 003

Operation GERBOISE

Session 13

Session Date: 29 March

Players: Brad, Lenora, TJ

Location: Reggane, Algeria (Abandoned French bunkers used for nuclear testing near the modern day Algerian Air Force Base in Reggane)

Game Date: 24 August

Game Time: 0200

  • The group begins driving toward Ekker. Jack is very concerned about the Mossad agent, knowing that he needs medical attention soon if he has any chance to live. Jack, Marcus, and Lincoln also have serious injuries.
  • Martin does a little research and learns that the town of Ain Salah, which is on the way to Ekker, has a decent sized hospital. The group decides to investigate the hospital – either with the intention of sneaking inside and leaving the Mossad agent or stealing the medical supplies necessary for Jack to heal him.
  • The group arrives on the western edge of Ain Salah at 0200 in the morning. A checkpoint has been set up by the Algerian military. A tank, piece of towed artillery, and a few jeeps are situated around the checkpoint with around 10 soldiers. Strangely, the focus of the checkpoint appears to be keeping the populace of Ain Salah from leaving.
  • The group is stopped at the checkpoint and questioned. Adrian spins a tale about being reporters investigating the Arab Spring and finding the injured Mossad agent on the side of the road. She says they’re looking for medical help. The guard seems suspicious and asks a few pointed questions. Marcus responds by gassing the car and navigating through the checkpoint. The guards are slow to respond, eventually shooting at the car but doing little damage.
  • On their way through town, the group spots a firefight between the Algerian military and what appear to be civilians. When they arrive at the center of town, near the hospital and a sizable hotel, they see pickup trucks that have been converted into makeshift weapon platforms with machine guns attached to their beds. The trucks are parked in the hospital courtyard.
  • At the hospital, the group is met by a pair of civilian guards wielding a hunting rifle and a revolver. Adrian is able to convince them to allow the group entrance into the hospital. Once inside, the group sees that the hospital is reacting to a high number of injured civilians who have apparently been injured in the fighting with the military.
  • Marcus and Jack head for the emergency room, where most of the seriously injured are being tended. Lincoln sneaks off, looking for medical supplies. Martin spends most of his time in the lobby of the hospital, which has been converted to a triage area. And Adrian looks around, asking for volunteers from the civilians to speak to her about their plight and why they are at odds with the military.
  • Jack is eagerly received by the local doctors. They give him some space to work on the Mossad agent. Marcus moves around the emergency room, helping as best he can with the various injured patients.
  • Adrian is told to head to the cafeteria, where the militant civilians are clustered together. There she is greeted by a guard who then takes her to the group’s leader, Hakeem. On the way to Hakeem, Adrian takes in the sights of the militant group of civilian fighters. She sees men studying maps, cleaning their weapons, etc but she also sees a disturbing site across the room. Huddled in the far end of the cafeteria are women and children who are being fitted with suicide vests. Adrian also notices some of the men building what appear to be IEDs. When she speaks to Hakeem, he reveals the group is part of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (better known in the west as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). He seems genuinely appreciative that someone from the West is concerned with their fight against the Algerian government.
  • Shaken by the encounter, Adrian seeks out Lincoln for his advice. She and Lincoln speak briefly, and then he heads to the nearby hotel in hopes of finding a place where they can relocate. He breaks into a hotel room, and then returns to the hospital to get the others.
  • Adrian and Lincoln find Jack and tell him about the Al Qaeda group that is using women and children as weapons. Jack doesn’t seem to pay too much attention as he’s completely focused on saving the Mossad agent’s life. Lincoln insists the group needs to leave – with or without the Mossad agent, and Adrian agrees. Jack refuses to leave unless the group can acquire the complex medical instruments he needs to continue his medical attention. An uneasy standoff ensues, wherein Lincoln and Adrian are hesitant to steal the items from the emergency room. They are concerned that without the medical supplies, the Algerian doctors won’t be able to tend to their own grievously injured patients.
  • At this point Martin walks into the emergency room to see what’s going on. Marcus knows the trio are having an intense conversation, but he’s too busy helping the doctors to engage the others. Adrian is also concerned that if Marcus finds out what’s going on, he would likely want to confront the Al Qaeda group.
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Mission 003: Opertion GERBOISE [session 12]

Mission 003

Operation GERBOISE

Session 12

Session Date: 1 March

Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex, TJ

Location: Reggane, Algeria (Abandoned French bunkers used for nuclear testing near the modern day Algerian Air Force Base in Reggane)

Game Date: 23 August

Game Time: 2100

  • The group is hesitant to get involved with the gunfight until they see one of the Mossad agents get injured. Jack quickly moves to his aid, while Marcus and Lincoln start to engage the Algerian soldiers.
  • Martin and Adrian stay in the rear, occasionally providing cover fire or attacking targets when they present themselves. Marcus leads the assault, moving forward to get a line of sight on the Algerians. Lincoln sneaks forward quietly, trying to gain cover against the gunmen. Jack and the other Mossad agent help the fallen Israeli.
  • Moments after Marcus moves into place, he is stabbed from behind. Marcus turns and realizes his attacker stabbed him not with a knife but with some sort of dagger-shaped ivory or cartilage that extends from his arm in place of a hand. The attacker also wears a mask that covers what appears to be a strange, elongated face.
  • In his attempt to save his companion, the other Mossad agent is grievously injured. The first Mossad agent is gunned down dead, but Jack is able to provide near-miraculous first aid to the second in order to keep him alive.
  • The gunfight continues, with Marcus, Lincoln, and Jack all taking serious wound, but with the group emerging victorious. During the fight the Mossad agent who lived tells the group that he thinks Red Sickle’s main plans were centered on Ekker, the other location where the French tested nuclear materials in Algeria. He says that the plan was to store the nuclear material from Germany at Reggane, to take readings on it, and then move it to Ekker. He told them there may be military members of the local base who were suppose to help with the operations (perhaps with logistics). He also says “Be careful of your path. You don’t know anything about the Basement. It’s terrible. Get out now before it’s too late.”
  • The group flees the bunker with the injured Mossad agent, taking the Toyota truck.
  • As they exit the bunker they see that the Algerian military is responding. Two jeeps and a helicopter are in route to the bunker.
  • The group flees on the road between the air force base and Reggane. Some sharpshooting results in the group shooting out the tires of the jeeps. They also find a man-portable surface-air-missile stashed in the Toyota (their guess was the truck belonged to the Mossad agents). The missile detonates near the helicopter but doesn’t destroy it.
  • The chase continues, with the Toyota eventually being damaged to the point that it can’t be used. Meanwhile, the group is able to deal substantial damage to the helicopter, forcing it to return to base.
  • The group finds an old sedan in a small village nestled in a nearby oasis. They pile in and head back to Reggane.
  • Some quick research reveals the best route to Ekker from Reggane.
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Mission 003: Operation GERBOISE [Session 11]

Mission 003

Operation GERBOISE

Session 11

Session Date: 16 February

Players: Brad, Braon, Lenora, Lex, TJ

Location: Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations directorate, Special Agent in Charge Principle Field Office – Atlanta, GA.
Game
Date: 18 August

Game Time: 0700

The group decides to split up. Marcus, Adrian, and Jack will head to Algeria, posing as a team of investigative reporters for the Washington Post. They are ostensibly in Algeria to cover the Arab Spring.

  • Martin and Lincoln stay behind so Martin can have more time to try to track down whoever is associated with the email address: typhon@yongbyon.pk. Martin is unsuccessful, and in fact it is possible due to high levels of security that the owner of the email address may have detected hacking attempts.
  • The first group travels to Italy and then Morocco via plane. When they arrive in Morocco they rent a jeep and drive cross country until they reach the Morocco-Algeria border near the town of Figuig, Morocco. After crossing into Algeria, the group is forced to pay a local man (Ahmed Itbir) for his services as a driver. He takes them to Reggane.
  • Between Adrar and Reggane, palm groves, true oases of green in the immensity of the ochre sand, succeed each other. All along the way, one is aware of the official policy of “bringing the desert back to life”: small palm trees have been planted at regular intervals and are watered, drop by drop, by an efficient system.
  • The palm groves are supported by an ingenious irrigation system, the carefully maintained result of ancestral practices. These underground canals—the “fogaras”— give life to this mineral universe. Through the generations, the inhabitants have learned to preserve water as a great wealth. At a time when the developed world is beginning to understand the necessity of safeguarding this indispensable resource, the ingenuity of the palm grove “gardeners” should be an example.
  • In Reggane, the group seeks out a hotel and audience with the town leader. They speak with a sheik who also serves as the mayor, Amza Ibiza. Amza knows about the nuclear testing at Reggane, as he worked at the facility in the 1960s when the French used the site. Amza is friendly and helpful, but doesn’t know any influential contacts at the modern day Algerian Air Force base near the Reggane nuclear test site ruins.
  • The group spends most of the day in Reggane and they are eventually joined by Martin and Lincoln. That night they approach the southern edge of the Algerian air force base where the French long ago abandoned bunkers that were used during nuclear testing at Reggane.
  • Under the cover of darkness the group easily slips through the rudimentary security at the airfield. They quickly spot a Toyota truck near one of the old French bunkers. The truck appears to be a rental – or at least very well kept, with little sign of extended exposure to the desert climate.
  • The group stealthily moves into the bunker. Inside they hear talking, probably in Arabic, but they aren’t quite sure. They decide to leave the bunker but suddenly a gunfight erupts within the bunker. They investigate and learn that the two Mossad agents they met in Moscow (Javad Akbari and Kamal Jalili) are engaged in a gunfight with Algerian soldiers.
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