HotZone 3

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A companion and concurrent campaign to HotZone.


Initial GM: John


Home base support team:


Global Context

(The following was written in 2007.) It's ten years in the future on Gurth, and the world has changed significantly in the last 20 years. America invaded Iraq in 2003, and tensions began escalating worldwide immediately. In 2008, the sectarian violence in Iraq spread like wildfire, and War in Iraq became the War in the Middle East which became the Central Asian Crisis. Long before pundits stopped changing the label, it was a world class clusterfuck. Had Russia, China, and India not united to quell the violence through diplomatic means in 2011-2012, the crisis was on track to evolve into World War 3.

This gradual unraveling of peaceful cohabitation was apparent to military leaders in numerous countries, and in fact the United States Special Operations Command presciently predicted a change in strategy would be required way back in 2006 when they issued the following public statement:

“Creating conditions where people want to live peacefully is a powerful weapon against terrorism. Direct action will become increasingly restricted as the Global War on Terrorism matures. Indirect actions of Foreign Internal Defense and Civil Affairs programs are the key to winning the war on terror.” 1

Powerful governments with awesome military arsenals became increasingly aware that wielding their power was becoming politically untenable in all but the most extreme situations. United States Special Operations Command, as just one example of a trend worldwide, quadrupled in funding and personnel from 2008-2015, but forced a significant portion of their Direct Action specialists into early retirement, and instead filled their ranks with civil engineers, psy ops specialists, administrators, and diplomats.

However, focused Direct Action operations will always be required when organized groups are willing to commit violence to contravene national interests, and so outside of government military operations, a second and third tier of operatives evolved. The second tier consisted of large private security companies, with tens of thousands of employees, some tiny portion of which could be used for “wet work” of Direct Action operations.

The third tier has evolved over the past 7-8 years. Increasing public scrutiny over and demand for transparency in military expenditures in industrialized nations worldwide has made certain operations difficult to fund through the large and somewhat infamous security corporations. However, worldwide, government agencies always have funds available for classified “black” operations, and it is here that the third tier of operatives has found its niche.

This third tier, or “SubNet” is a loose affiliation of a few thousand specialists and commanders worldwide, mostly ex-military. By adopting terrorist organizations' practice of maintaining “cells” which know little about global operations, the SubNet maintains a thick veil and appears to be nothing more than disconnected gangs of shadowy figures.

Your Team

Your team is one such cell.


You're all freelancers, and have been working together for five or more years, based most recently in a luxury cliffside villa south of Vlorë, Albania. The sturdy 23-room castle was once the vacation home of a war criminal that you dispatched five years ago, and the team has spent a million Euros upgrading it with the most modern of conveniences, technology and equipment. A helipad graces its roof, and your live-in chef, Guido Ricardo, serves as your pilot as the need arises.

Some of you might provide occasional consulting to the Albanian military, which has both air and naval bases nearby, securing the occasional favor along the way (with points spent on Contact, Ally Group, Favor, etc).

Every few months, you accept a mission from trusted contacts generally in the service of justice and democracy. But it's a complex world.

In your downtime, you might be fond of windsurfing (or cliff diving, or fishing) in the Adriatic, or cavorting with beach bunnies on the coast below, or drinking Ouzo and writing poetry in the mountains, or practicing with your kung fu master, or hacking into Russian government servers for fun and profit. You decide.

Recent missions include:

  • At the request of Mr. Black, a hostage rescue operation in Syria, still not recovered from its lingering civil war. While ultimately successful, and despite UN air support, this was a bloody mess, and you lost a team member in the firefight.
  • At the request of Sylvia Montana, you infiltrated Divine Disorder headquarters in Moldova. You replaced hard drives in several laptops, sabotaged their weapons cache, and escaped undetected.
  • A freelance operation in Sevestapol. You'd heard enough Ukranian mail-order-bride horror stories that you decided to act to disrupt one of Russian gangs responsible for the reprehensible slavery operation. You terminated a dozen gang leaders and air-lifted twenty-three blonde teenagers to the ever-receptive Swedish embassy in Albania. The girls and their families now reside in Stockholm.

Character Creation

Points & Traits

200 points total
max 100 base attributes
max 50 disadvantages
max 50 advantages
max 5 quirks
  • No Supernatural (lightning bolt) or Exotic (alien head) advantages will be approved.
  • A good story and 5-point Unusual Background (for each) opens up:
    • Extra Attack
    • Trained by a Master
    • Weapon Master
    • Enhancements such as Cyber/DNA/drug-based body/brain upgrades -- require GM approval.
  • Some Martial Arts traits are designated as cinematic -- get GM approval.
  • Generally speaking, you have plenty of cash and Swiss accounts for whatever you need -- within reason.
  • If you don't select Computer Operation and/or Driving (Cars), you are very bad at these skills and will be unable to use them under pressure.
  • Languages beyond English will probably be helpful. You're likely to have Albanian (Broken), at least. If you're from a non-english country originally, it'll be helpful to put a couple points into English.


Your personal background must include military or some kind of paramilitary training (which includes spy and criminal organizations), though your emphasis might be on anything the military teaches -- raw soldiering, engineering, cyber operations, close-quarters-battle, hand-to-hand-combat, espionage, surveilance, assassination, smuggling, psychological operations, seduction, subterfuge, propaganda, languages, vehicles, etc.

Possible Hollywood inspirations: James Bond, Lara Croft, Elektra, Jason Bourne, Jackie Chan, Expendables...


This is still generally TL 8, on the cusp of early TL 9.

You have access to a broad range of military-grade hardware and technology -- within reason. You certainly do not have a stealth bomber and nuclear weapons. You'll need to be able to carry your gear and (at least sometimes) walk about in urban environments without scaring civilians.

Your character has been and will probably be wounded by gunfire in the future. You'll likely have some favorite concealable body armor.

TL9 Biomedical (UT196), Body Armor (UT171), Conventional Small Arms (UT 135) and Accessories (UT 149) are available to you. Other TL9 items subject to GM approval. The bad guys may have some of this stuff too.

You'll all have the TL9 SuperGoogleZon handhelds of the future, encrypted, a billion throwaway numbers, 2TB storage, GPS, hands-free earbud operation, voice-commanded HUD with teammate icons in 1-mile service-free radius (etc etc).

What Happened

Ransom Gone Wrong

Sylvia Montana places 'the call' to Dudu and explains that Dirk Hansen's daughter Liana has been abducted, ransom demanded, and Dirk is on Var Island, Croatia intending to execute the transfer of cash solo. Sylvia, an old friend of Dirk's, hopes the team would be willing to be present and make sure things go smoothly.

Bianca Zapato, the team's cleaning lady, adjusts her bikini and rolls her eyes as Guido Ricardo, their chef and pilot, turns off the poolside grill with a sigh and heads for the helipad.

The team arrives in the urban centro on the island with minutes to spare. Gevin sets up on a rooftop a few blocks away, with Carter as his spotter. The rest of the team mills about on the street, trying to act natural. Two suspicious characters are spotted -- an attractive woman at the cafe, and a businessman on a bus bench a couple blocks away.

Dirk, unaware of his nearby allies, takes the position instructed by the kidnappers, a sidewalk seat at the American Cafe. The pickup guy eventually arrives on a scooter, the transfer is quickly executed, and he speeds away.

Dudu rescinds an initial order to terminate the guy, and Luke jumps on his Ducati to give chase. Boomer dashes out into the street to block the scooter, but the driver is skilled and Boomer can't get his taser out in time.

The scooter disappears into an underground parking garage, and Luke stakes it out while Carter and Gevin climb down from the roof to join him.

The rest of the team keeps eyes on the suspicious woman, and the businessman, who separately descend from the centro down to the resort district and head for their room in the Marriot. Carter easily hacks the hotel's security camera and reservation systems, identifies the specific room they're in, and reserves the three rooms closest to it.

Meanwhile, a brown van emerges from the underground parking garage in the centro, and the driver looks similar to the pickup guy on the scooter. Gevin snaps photos surreptiously and Carter runs the plates by hacking the Croatian DMV with aplomb. Luke stays with the van, while Gevin and Carter head for the resort district to set up, atop a gardening shed on the hillside opposite the Marriot (Gevin) and in the team's armored Mercedes SUV (Carter).

Dudu, Gevin, Nadia, and Boomer plan an operation to grab the two fishy characters in the Marriot, who are presently joined by a third, larger man during the planning process. A combination of an explosive wall breach and rubber-ball stun grenades overwhelm the trio, and they are dragged downstairs into the SUV while sprinklers douse everyone on the floor and drenched tourists lurch towards the elevators to complain to hotel management.

At a nearby beach rental with no view at all (quickly reserved on Craigslist by Carter) serves as an interrogation facility, and the combination of Boomer's guileless queries and Dudu's torture techniques prove effective. These are three of the four-person surveillance team assigned to make sure that Vlad, the pickup driver, didn't make off with the money. With the pickup complete, all that remains is for the fourth member of the team, a white-haired Greek named Billy, to follow Vlad to a bar in a town in Serbia to hand over the money to Radovan, the Serb who hired the surveillance team. However, they don't know anything about any women being abducted.

Satisfied, the team summarily executes the trio and sets the house ablaze.

Meanwhile, Luke is in traffic en route to the ferry terminal, which is apparently Vlad's destination. In order to slow Vlad's escape during the interrogation of the surveillance group, the team cajoles Carter to create a false positive in the ferry's security software, which sets off alarms and halts everything while the authorities sort it out. Police arrive and hundreds of people sit in traffic in the afternoon sun.

Luke uses the time to get closer to Vlad's van, and decides to have a minor fender bender to further slow things down while the team decides what to do. The interaction with Vlad grows hostile when Luke demands $5000 to repair the scratched paint on his bike, and Vlad fast-draws a pistol and demands that Luke get out of his way. Luke complies as the team notifies him that Billy, the fourth surveillance team member, should be nearby. Luke spots him and awaits the team's arival.

Finally, the security glitch is cleared up, and everyone boards the ferry, where Vlad fixes his tire and Gevin and Boomer place tracking devices on the van and Billy's BMW.

Hours later, the party has tracked Billy, who is following Vlad, to a rural town in the hill country of central Serbia. Again, Gevin sets up on a rooftop overlooking the street on which Vlad has parked in a garage and the rest of the team fans out in the quiet, rainy town. Suspecting that Vlad has entered the only building with a Heinikin light in the window, Dudu switches back to his civilian-wear and wanders in to order a vodka nonchalantly.

Two Serbian goons inside are watching cage-fighting on cable with Vlad and a half-dozen retired chain smokers while Serbo-pop-folk-disco plays in the background. Dudu has no trouble placing a nanobug and making his exit.

The team debates their next move, but eventually Vlad exits and makes for the garage down the street where his car is parked. On Dudu's command, Gevin explodes his skull. The rain falls softly down in the night.

The Serb goons chase the retirees out, pick up a duffel full of cash, and lock up. Boomer rushes over and drags Vlad's body into the pitch-black garage just in time.

As the Serbs walk down the street, Gevin terminates one of them, and Boomer jumps out and tases the other.

Attention then turns to Billy, who is parked 200 yards up the street. As his car starts, Gevin refocuses his aim and somehow plows a round through the transmission, engine block, battery, and radiator, and car goes silent. Billy, no stranger to being shot at, exits the vehicle, runs across the street, and dives into the pane-glass window of a residence.

Boomer thumps a grenade from his rifle launcher after him, and the house and all within are utterly destroyed.

As lights come on and fearful residents peer from their doorways, the team piles Vlad and the Serbs into the back of the SUV and speeds out of town to a quiet location in the woods.

The dead bodies are stripped of wallets, passports and cell phones, and tossed in a ditch. The remaining Serb is quickly convinced to divulge the location of Radovan's country manor and, further, that he no longer works for Radovan, knows nothing, and will go far, far away, immediately. Gevin then gives him a thick stack of cash and sends him on his way, on foot, phoneless, into the night.

The team then brings up the country manor on Google Satellite View and plans their assault. Gevin rigs up his sniper harness in the trees hundreds of yards away, Boomer utilizes thermite to access and disable the public AM radio tower on the property. Carter hacks the house's wifi to discover a trove of tacky Russian porn, as well as evidence that Radovan is conducting some sort of transaction meeting with a Russian mob boss this very evening.

After taking out two henchman who step outside for a smoke, the team gets into position: Nadia and Boomer at the back door, Dudu and Luke slipping into an upper window via grappling hook, with Gevin covering the front and Carter available for getaway driving.

Boomer kicks things off by cutting the house's power and tossing stun grenades in the back windows with Nadia.

After some muffled shouting, the house erupts with gunfire as the Serbs and Russians panic and start firing at each other in the darkness.

Dudu and Luke clear upstairs rooms, pausing only briefly to yelp at Radovan's innefective bullets before terminating him.

Some combatants burst through the front door and try to get to the nearby luxury sedans, but Gevin's sniper rifle lays waste to several of them -- and the sedans' engine blocks.

Nadia and Boomer mop up in the house, sustaining only minor injuries in the process. Eventually, all is quiet.

Among the scattered gore and spent shells, they discover Liana, barely alive with two bullet wounds, one of them critical. Carter pulls up with the SUV, Luke fetches the crash kit, and Nadia sets to work saving Liana's fragile life.

Meanwhile, Boomer chases one final combatant out the back door into the rainy darkness. He hobbles the runner, confirms his identity as a top colonel of a powerful Russian crime boss, and then puts a bullet in his face.

Two Russians are allowed to live and instructed to return to Moscow with the story that the Serbs sabotaged the deal, and all was lost in the process. The Russians agree, and drive off in the bullet-riddled tour bus.

The team summons their helicopter pilot and, while Nadia continues surgery on the near-dead Liana, thoroughly searches the property, eventually dscovering the underground root cellar, its attached bomb shelter, and eleven young women held captive there, beaten, starving, and dehydrated.

With most of the vehicles on the property disabled, it takes some time to plan transport, but eventually the chopper takes as many as it can hold to a modern hospital in Montenegro, with the packed SUV, Ducati, and the Lamborghini Aventador trailing behind.

One of the girls, Angel Zeno, has no family to go back to, and begs the team to stay with them. After much debate, Gevin agrees to be responsible for her. He later sets her up in a poolside cabana with security measures installed by Carter.

Liana survives her injuries and is eventually reunited with her father. Mission accomplished.

Mediterranean Mayhem

After two weeks of recuperation, beach runs, climbing wall practice, and lab experiments, Dudu gets a call from everyone's favorite MI6 operative, Elizabeth Diamond.

It seems that MI6 has lost track of one Dr. Vincent Ashad, on whom they'd contracted out light surveillance. Dr. Ashad was a leading expert on the safe disposal of chemical and biological weapons until he retired several years ago, stricken with an unshakable depression. The Blackwater contractor assigned to keep an eye on him hasn't seen the doctor in a week.

Lizzy, though, has an asset inside Palazzo Del Sol, a luxury casino in Taranto, Italy, and has received word of a facial recognition match on the doctor just hours ago. Lizzy hopes that she might prevail on the party to confirm his presence since they're nearby. An easy trip to a luxury resort.

Dudu graciously confirms the team's availability, and they leap into action as the sun dips towards the Italian boot-heel peninsula.

Recognizing that none of the team owns perfect attire for their intended cover (rich playboys), Gevin assigns Angel to call ahead to a shop with the team's sizes and measurements, which she's already noted, aside from Nadia's inseam.

Minutes later, the chopper circles once over the Italian resort, and Gevin and Boomer Smith opt to parachute in. Gevin has some navigational difficulties and somewhat awkwadly lands right at the valet stand. Recovering his composure, Gevin simply asks to check his chute with the attendant.

Gevin and Boomer rendezvous and assess external security while the rest of the team touches down neatly at the adjoining private airstrip and summons a limo to the resort.

2025 Porsche rent-a-car

Gevin and Boomer quickly discover that the casino has weapon-detecting scanners and return to the valet to check their weapons. At the last minute, Boomer decides to have a rental Porsche delivered and stash his gear therein. It arrives presently, and the duo heads into the casino to check things out. The rest of the team arrives a few minutes later.

Using the reservations already surreptitiously created by Carter, the team checks into their suite on the 22nd floor to change into the just-arrived Italian designer clubwear. Dudu disdains but tolerates his floppy purple collar, and Nadia shines in her red dress. The team then spreads out to get eyes on as much of the casino complex as possible.

Hours pass without any sightings of the Doctor nor his Romanian tramp girlfriend, Angela Rossi, though Carter's reservation hacking confirms that Angela has a room on the 48th floor. A little further research turns up her casual affiliation with Divine Disorder, and a fuzzy-logic psuedo-AI polynomial matching algorithm that Carter whips up further reveals that Mickey Farnsworth, another Divine Disorder operative, is staying in the room across the hall from her.

Suspicions aroused, Dudu returns from the nightclub where he was throwing around cash and booze with a bevy of beauties, and the team hatches a surveillance plan. Sunflower-seed-sized A/V nanobugs are placed under Angela's front door, outside Mickey's balcony door (via Gevin's daring climb), and in the hallway between the two.

Soon, the scenario becomes clear. Angela is getting the Doctor boozed and drugged up, whereupon Mickey and another man join them for an interrogation session concerning chemical weapons.

It's after midnight, but Dudu rallies the team and they resolve to rescue the Doctor. Unable to hack the hardwired security system, Carter goes to work on infiltrating the safety systems to create a distraction. The rest of the team breaches Angela's door with several hard kicks, Mickey confronts them with an extendible baton, and Gevin puts him down with two shots to the chest from the Holdout pistol mysteriously smuggled in by Boomer.

Angela and interrogator Darrel Blake scream in shock and horror while Dr. Ashad smiles dreamily, stoned out of his mind.

Carter trips the fire alarms, sprinklers sprinkle, and the chaos ensues throughout the casino. Dudu and Gevin grab Darrel and Dr. Ashad and exit via the window-washers' scaffolding, while the rest of the team simply files out the front door towards the limo that Carter has meanwhile summoned.

Boomer pays the driver $10,000 to walk away, and the team drives the limo to the chopper, making an expedient getaway.

En route over the Adriatic at 200mph, they replay nanobug audio from Angela's room after their departure, and learn that she makes a call to someone named Roddy, who advises her to grab the laptop and head back to Lyon, which is what he's doing as soon as he finishes "burning down his station".

Back at HQ, Dudu viciously interrogates Darrel Blake while Nadia administers stim drugs to bring Dr. Ashad down from the clouds. Unfortunately, once he's somewhat sober, he can't remember a thing, though he inquires about Angela's whereabouts.

Darrel quickly spills his guts, terrified by the array of tools on the wall of Dudu's underground interrogation chamber. Roddy Piper is a Divine Disorder cell leader, and Darrel's job was to help with the technical questioning of Dr. Ashad concerning the location, retrieval process, and handling tips of six barrels of nasty 20th-century nerve gas. The retrieval process is already under way, in the Calypso Deep of the Ionian Sea, just a hundred miles away or so. The retrieval operation is already underway.

The team checks in with Lizzy, who, alarmed at all the developments, says her closest team is much further away in Tripoli and would need several hours to even mobilize. Dudu offers the team's intervention while Lizzy runs the situation up the flagpole to try and get satellite coverage and personnel.

Soon, the team is aloft again in the dead of night, headed for coordinates over open water a hundred miles south and, after briefly considering underwater demolition of a ship full of nerve gas and rocket propellent, intends to quick-rope down to the retrieval vessel and the attached powerboat and secure them.

On approach, at over 300 yards, a bullet rips through the chopper's windscreen and pulverizes non-critical equipment, sending sparks and a whisp of smoke into the cockpit. Gevin quickly locates the concealed shooter, Luke steadies the craft, and Gevin ends the shooter's brief career as terrorist sniper with a single bullet.

Undeterred, four more bad guys emerge on deck and take aim. As the chopper races towards the ship, Gevin and Boomer lean out into the wind and take their shots at 200 yards, dropping both their targets. But the other two fire 15-round bursts and several bullets hit the chopper, causing some disconcerting but mild damage. One bullet rips through Boomer's leg, and he rolls inwards to meet Nadia's medical attention.

Gevin continues to clear the deck as Luke slows and descends towards the ship, and soon Dudu, Gevin, and Luke (having handed off controls to Guido) are onboard, clearing bad guys with cold precision.

Elizabeth Diamond, resplendent in her yellow sun dress

Carter stays aboard with Guido, providing overwatch with Gevin's rifle and occasionally picing off a target. As the boarding team heads below deck, Boomer and Nadia descend the dangling rope in the night, and Nadia helps her injured comrade up the steps into the bridge to complete the first aid process and guard the boarding team's rear flank. Good thing, too, as two more bad guys, previously concealed on the far side of the ship, rush in a minute later. Through the red pain of his injury, Boomer presciently aims at the door just before the assailant enters and riddles him with lead.

Nadia, bloody hands attending to Boomer's wicked leg wound, fastdraws her enormous magnum, and fires two powerful rounds into the chest of the other attacker, sending him flying right off the edge of the boat into the cool deep below.

Meanwhile, below deck, Gevin's on point with his assault carbine, clearing rooms one by one and miraculously avoiding any injury from the similar weapons fired at him. Soon, all is quiet. The ship rocks gently on the waves as flashbang smoke clears below flickering lights.

Gevin, Dudu, and Luke breach the final door to find nine terrified African sailors, their hands up and 50-year-old revolvers in a neat little pile in front of them. Gevin efficiently zip-ties five of them, executes the other four, and then executes the detainees.

What remains is horrified Jerome Silverstein, a robotics expert, sitting in shock at the remote operation console of a sophisticated unmanned submarine. Luke steps over bodies to take the controls while Dudu and Gevin restrain and terrify the robot geek.

Jerome is not difficult to get talking, and soon divulges some details of the plot.

Divine Disorder intended to deliver the goods to three religious radical groups, God's Fist, Sword of Allah, and Sons of Rome, which hope to destroy Mecca, Jerusalem, and the Vatican, respectively. The transfers were to take place on a nearby Greek island on successive days for each group, with security provided by the Longbeards.

The team notifies Lizzy of the latest developments, and she assures them that help is on the way, but that the team should be gone when it arrives. Separately, Gevin fills in his military masters, who shortly advise him to stay clear.

The team loads into the chopper, but not before setting up the powerboat to streak across the water at some speed, which they subsequently use for target practice. Lizzy watches the mayhem from the MI6 satellite feed and rolls her eyes with a smile.

The team returns to HQ in Albania, interrogates Jerome and Darrel some more, takes DNA samples, and then disappears them both.

After some much-needed shuteye, the team shares a mid-afternoon poolside breakfast with Angel, Bianca, Guido, and Dr. Ashad. Lizzy herself arrives (looking positively resplendent in her yellow sun dress) to congratulate the team and collect Dr. Ashad. Mission Accomplished.

Vacation in Guinea

With Dudu and Boomer off to Jordan on a diplomatic security mission for Israel, Gevin assumes command and informs the team of their next trip -- to Africa. Guido Ricardo laments the stack of burgers he was about to cook and Bianca and Angel, just setting up poolside, sigh and pack some snacks for the team.

In minutes, the team's chopper sets down near the leased jet at the airport, and minutes after that, Guido's got the plane to 22,000' over the Mediterranean. Gevin briefs the team -- it's a rescue op, a Catholic priest in Guinea has gone missing, and Agent Zero has agreed to extract him for a friend, Otto Jansen.

It seems that another team was there a couple years ago, and the scene isn't pretty. Amid dangerous jungle, an utterly derelict and corrupt government generally overlooks the ethnic militias, drug gangs, and mining company enforcers, resulting in a desperate and tragic brew of misery, cruelty, and violence.

The team flies into Dakar, Senegal, and is pleasantly surprised at the modern hospitality and infrastructure. A polite soldier drives out onto the tarmac to greet them and inform them of the fee to bypass security and customs, and, after a brief conversation, delivers the team to a locked gate at the perimeter of the runway, where a shining black SUV awaits them. The driver, Pierre LeBlanc, is a well-dressed black gentleman who delivers them deftly (including a stop for lattes at Starbucks) to the Blue Flamingo, where the mission briefing says a contact awaits, Jason Eder, who was part of the previous mission.

Jason is a fountain of bad jokes and useless facts, which endears him to Carter; and a budding bromance forms throughout the day.

Over afternoon beers in Jason's "office" at the open-air bar, the team learns a few more facts about the situation on the ground in Guinea.

  1. Enter Guinea by land, air, or sea -- all are fraught with unpleasantness, but plane is the fastest, obviously
  2. the Russian mob has started supplying the Danish mining mercenaries with weapons -- often taking drugs bound for European markets as payment
  3. Brian Britsworth is still in Conkary, Guinea's disintegrating capitol, and is a good contact for assistance getting into (and out) the jungle in one piece

The team rents a room to stow their gear and then chats further with Jason up on the roof briefly, where he's having trouble landing one of his surveillance drones.

Then the party splits: Luke contacts Pierre and heads out with him for supplies. Carter hangs out with Jason in the bar. Gevin checks and re-checks his gear and does a mad amount of exotic pushups.

Nadia heads out into the neighborhood to sniff around and pick up a few incidentals. As she walks out of the hotel, the assassins attack.

Four underfed locals in grubby clothes load out of a battered brown van across the street and open fire with AK-74s. Each has a 21% chance to hit with at least one of the eleven bullets sent her way at nearly 3000' per second.

All 44 bullets miss her skinny silhouette to hurdle into the bar, shattering glasses, injuring patrons, and knocking chunks of marble out of the walls.

Nadia quickly sidesteps to take cover behind one of the blue columns on the patio.

Hearing the gunshots, Gevin leaps to his feet, grabs a gun, rushes out the door, kicks open the door across the hall, and gets eyes on the shooters from the fourth floor window. Meanwhile, Carter and Jason in the bar below peer out the front door to see Nadia pinned behind the column.

After telling Nadia to get ready to run back inside, Gevin sprays a burst across the shooters' general area, and it has the intended effect -- they jump back into the van and the driver stomps the gas.

Gevin continues to fire at the van, unloading most of his clip. The van continues to accelerate, gradually drifting off course, clipping a parked car, spinning first, then rolling over several times and coming to a rest, smoke and dust rising languorously through orange sunset light. Carter and Nadia move towards the vehicle cautiously, guns drawn, while Gevin aims carefully from high above.

The back door of the van flops open, and a survivor with a broken femur slithers out. Gevin puts a bullet in the pavement 2 feet from his face, and he pancakes down in terror. Nadia and Carter assess that there are no other survivors. They drag their prisoner back to the hotel and into the empty room from which Gevin was shooting. Locals collect the weapons from the corpses in the street.

Interrogation takes less than a minute. They were hired by 'the Russian', and hoped to collect payment in the alley behind the CrystalTech discotheque at midnight tonight.

The team decides to leave him there and bug out for different lodging before the authorities arrive.

A debate ensues about whether to get out of town immediately, or unravel the Russian connection. Nadia informs her colleagues about the reason she was targeted, and she's furious, and wants the Russians to feel her wrath.

Carter hacks CrystalTech's security system and parses the last few nights of footage. Sure enough, a group of five burly Russian-looking gangsters parties there every night. Skimming through the club's credit card receipts and passing names along to Interpol, there are several hits for Russian mob affiliations, and Nadia even recognizes one name, Anatoly Babakov.

The op is planned: Carter will disable the security system and keep watch, Luke will pick the lock on the alley-facing emergency exit, and then he and Gevin and Nadia will enter, move through the dancing crowd, and open fire on the henchmen first.

It goes nearly perfectly. As Carter remotely switches the Europop-techno-trance-dance to The Bitch is Back, the dancers pause briefly and the mobsters glance up, but then go back to guzzling vodka and snorting lines off the chests of their well-paid prostitutes.

The team steps up to the table, fast-draws and fires, immediately killing three Russian goons, and critically injuring a fourth. Screams fill the disco and the crowd breaks for the front door.

Anatoly fast-draws a weapon himself, but Gevin quickly blasts two bullets through the bones of his arm and the gun drops falls on a glass of vodka, shattering it. Anatoly grimaces as Luke and Gevin wrestle the enormous round table off the the side and shrieking blood-spattered women scatter in random directions.

Undeterred, Anatoly then draws a knife from his left boot, but Gevin destroys that arm with two more well-placed shots.

The injured henchman makes a move too, but Nadia finishes him with her magnum.

Leaking blood from both arms like a stuck pig, Anatoly snarls helplessly, and the team drags him out to a van they've prepared for the occasion. A shotgun-wielding bartender is happy for them to leave.

Warnings of dire repercussions are exchanged in the van as Nadia concocts an intravenous potion that will cause excruciating pain for 24 hours. She sedates Anatoly, and then injects the pain concoction, and then the team ties him to a downtown monument with a note for police, and leaves him there.

Back to their new hotel for a few hours of shut-eye, and then the team lets Pierre know it's time to roll.

Still before dawn, they arrive at the border, where desperate Guinean families sit in squalor on the other side of the fence. After making sure the team actually intends to enter Guinea, the guards accept the team's generous cash payment and waves them through.

Hours of slow, muddy driving later, they roll into Conkary, the miserable capital city, home to two million grim souls. The heat is oppressive, sewage sloshes in gutters, and shoeless children pick through garbage around the wreckage of burned out cars.

A gang of bicycling youths extracts some cash from the team, as do some bored soldiers in ill-fitting uniforms, who also provide directions to the bar where Brian Britsworth is likely to be found.

Gevin and Nadia enter, while Carter and Pierre wait out front and Luke drives the second Range Rover around the block.

The unmarked basement establishment is brimming with professional mercenaries, economic hitmen, oily military bureaucrats, and wily smugglers. A British flag is on the wall, soccer is on the telly, and Britsworth is holding forth about his activities as a translator for British special ops in Desert Storm, back in the day.

Gevin calls for more scotch and develops a rapport with Britsworth in Arabic. He's happy to help, of course, old chap, and has met Father O'Leary. He says the North Koreans are helping with logistics for both mining companies, and that his friend Ding Ding has been to the church and can help with navigation and local dialects.

An hour later, the convoy is en route with extra candy bars, cigarettes, and whiskey, accompanied by the faithful Ding Ding.

They roll through a dozen desperate and awful little towns, snaking through the rust-colored mud roads slowly but surely up into the hills.

Near sunset, they reach a floating bridge and pay the toll to cross. However, there's a contingent on the far side who decides to multiply the disembarking fee by ten and, through a system of donkeys and ropes and pulleys, detaches the bridge from the shore, stranding the Range Rovers.

Gevin agrees to the $2000 fee, and a skinny dude poles an old canoe out to receive the payment. A debate ensues about whether to waste the whole crew. Nadia's call for peace prevails and the team drives on.

Hours after dark, the convoy crests a ridge and Ding Ding remarks that usually he can see the lights of the church from this vantage point. The team cuts their lights and discusses strategy.

Gevin zooms way in with his nightvision scope and reports that three technicals sit outside the little church, and he can read one of their license plates.

Carter starts research and before long finds that the plate is Senegalese and is licensed to a construction contractor. He finds that one of this contractor's clients is ARG, the Australian mining group. Next, he forges an electronic document: a directive from ARG management to the team, instructing them to extract Patrick O'Leary as soon as possible.

Gevin heads into the jungle alone to find a spot to set up his sniping hammock. Once he's in position thirty yards out from the little church, Luke and Nadia drive in and park as if they were arriving on official business.

Two sunburned Australian mercenaries and two skinny locals sporting AKs come wandering out from a side door. Words are exchanged, the story told.

One of the Aussies gets out his phone and sends someone a text, saying that Oswald needs to know about this and make the decision. Luke remembers the case of whiskey in the car and offers it up. This, the Australians receive eagerly, and agrees to show the priest's whereabouts.

He's in a little cabin behind the church, is very ill and lying in days of his own filth.

Luke is allowed to carry the wretch to the Range Rover as Gevin reports three new vehicles approach, two technicals and an SUV. One of the technicals' guns is manned.

Oswald arrives, reviews the forged document, and announces that he'll just call the executive to confirm. Nadia objects, saying that waking up an exec at this time of night, interrupting an op to extract a man who has a critical role to play in the mineral rights negotiations, is folly.

Oswald hesitates but then places the call. The phone rings and rings as crickets buzz.

Gevin zooms in on the temple of the 50-cal gunner.

Oswald leaves a message, shrugs, and says, "Fine, take him."

The team extracts from the valley as quickly as prudent.

On the way back, Luke and Gevin decide to use bridge extortionists for target practice, leading Pierre to remark later, "You guys give de hard justice, mahn."

After dropping off Ding Ding with a roll of hundred dollar bills and paying their way back into Senegal, the team checks in with Agent Zero and is advised to drop Father O'Leary at the Catholic hospital. Hand off complete, the team next checks in at the Hyatt Regency near the airport for some R&R.

  • Nadia turns the AC down near freezing, takes a two hour hot bath and then cuddles up in a bathrobe and blanket.
  • Gevin heads to a raucous club for debauchery, convincing a pair of Spanish college dropouts to cavort with him overnight.
  • Carter has dinner with Pierre and his family. Pierre's daughter is attending college in Paris in the fall, and all agree to keep in touch.
  • Luke (what did Luke do?)

By sunset the next day, the team is back at HQ in Albania, where Bianca and Angel have mixed up some delicious sangria for poolside relaxation.

Mission Accomplished.


  • Gevin designs and hires contractors to build a close quarters battle training facility on the grounds of the villa. As work begins, he's summoned by duty, honor, country to perform tasks elsewhere.