HotZone Deux

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A companion and concurrent campaign to HotZone and HotZone 3.


Initial GM: John


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.

Back in 2017, you were recruited by Agent Zero, a senior MI6 operative, to become a part of a standing team of off-the-books assets. Though you've had a lot of leisure time between missions, you've now conducted several successful operations and have established a fortified home base north of Bastia, Corsica.

Your villa on the coast of Corsica
Your high-speed cruising vessel

The adventure that brought you together involved parachuting at night onto the grounds of a terrorist training camp in the hills of Morocco to rescue a British diplomat. Agent Zero paid your team a million euros (all in 20-euro notes) for a perfectly executed mission.

In 2018, Pierre Gaston, the famous French billionaire art collector, gave you the Corsican villa where you now reside and a powerboat capable of 100km/hr after your successful rescue of his son from Algerian kidnappers.

In 2019, Prince Ahlaman of Saudi Arabia gave you one of his personal 12-seat jets (capable of 1300km/hr) after you successfully tracked down and neutralized an African warlord who had failed to deliver a diamond comparable to the famous Centenary Diamond. (You keep the jet at a private airstrip 15km away from the house, and have a German pilot on call with an hour's notice.)

In 2020, an Italian bureaucrat of unknown rank paid you €500k in small bills to disrupt the unknown plans of Divine Disorder relevant to an international banking conference in Rome. Your team discovered that the anarchists planned to shut down the traffic light system to create an impassable Italian snarl, and you detained their engineers until the conference was over.

In 2021, a Tunisian oil executive paid you a small fortune in emeralds to locate and retrieve his 22-year-old daughter who had fallen in with armed fighters in the brewing border conflict between Algeria and Libya. The young woman didn't want to be found, or rescued, and so it turned into a kidnapping mission, difficult but successful.

Months can pass between operations, so you have a lot of time to pursue other interests. But nothing gets your blood flowing like being on a dangerous covert mission, and so restless and boredom are common. If you're into that sort of thing, you might amuse yourself with frequent trips to Monaco to gamble, the Italian Alps to ski, Barcelona to party. There is also plenty of mountain climbing and scuba diving opportunities in the immediate area of your headquarters.

Character Creation

This TL 8/9; some TL 9 equipment will be approved.

200 points total
max 100 attributes
max 75 disadvantages
max 50 advantages
max 5 quirks

You can be originally from anywhere in the world. You must speak English, and can speak up to 5 other languages if have a few sentences about why you can.

Before becoming a part of this team, what were you up to? Leading guerrilla fighters in Ecuador? Cracking bank security codes in Australia? Running guns from China to the highest bidder in Africa? Chasing drug dealers in the Caribbean? Running security operations for a nonprofit in war-torn South Sudan? Stealing launch codes for missile silos in India? You decide.

You can be a specialist or a generalist, but you should have some skills and talents useful on dangerous missions where techniques such as violence, subterfuge, seduction, surveillance, hacking, breaking and entering, demolition, and stealth are frequently employed. It’s highly likely you received some military training -- describe it. Otherwise, explain why you have those skills. But if you also want to be a great singer, or gardener, or tightrope walker, or anything else, spend the points and add those to your skills list.

Money: You have cash, lots of cash, and more money in your individual Swiss accounts. The exact amount shouldn't become an issue.

Gear: You can have whatever you like that is consistent with a mobile force of operatives, including:

  • Earbud communicators
  • Handheld/wristwatch computers
  • Multiple small arms
  • Night vision gear
  • Body armor (thin and concealable or thick and impenetrable)
  • Surveillance gear
  • Electronics/hacking/security gear
  • Explosives

If you want any heavy military hardware or other 'questionable' items, ask the GM. No nukes. ;)

What Happened

Just Another Day At The Office

The villa. It's been a mostly relaxing summer.

After a summer of various solo mission and boat restoration projects, the team has gathered once again at the villa in Corsica in anticipation of their next adventure. Ollie gets an authenticated text from Agent Zero, who says that Daniel Yoffee will soon be calling for some help.

Sure enough, the call comes into one of the thousands of anonymous 32-digit numbers Ollie has associated with his device, and he puts it on speaker for the rest of the group to hear. Turns out Mr. Yoffee's daughter Ziva and her BFF Yaffa, while vacationing at Eagle's Palace Restort in Greece, have run into a spot of trouble. After 24 hours of flirting with an older gentleman named Ivan, Ziva has disappeared - with Ivan and some of his gun-toting bodyguards.

Daniel needs this done without any official law enforcement involvement because of his sensitive position in the government of Israel. He offers €50,000, which Leon Finch pushes up to €60,000.

The team reviews their inventory and notifies Axel to fuel up the jet.

Over Italy, the team discusses options and decides to go to the resort and talk to Yaffa.

Once in Greece at the airport near the resort, they leave Axel to rock out to music and rent a full-sized Range Rover to make the short drive to the coast.

There is some discussion of using a pizza delivery ruse, but in the end the team simply buys and brings a pizza to the resort.

A quick call to Daniel is made to retrieve Yaff's phone number. Maggie makes the call, leaves a message, and when Yaffa calls back, they tell her help is on the way.

After being waved through security, a valet parks the SUV (and nearly all the equipment), and the team finds Yaffa in the bar, flanked by fawning Italian playboys.

Ollie tells them to get lost, resulting in a brief standoff, with Nash stepping forward to beef up the odds, but finally Maggie defuses the situation and promises to bring Yaffa back shortly.

The group repairs to Yaffa's room, whereupon Leon starts trying to hack the hotel network and Maggie and Ollie and Nash get as much information out of Yaffa as possible -- which isn't much. The 'sugar daddy' Ivan traveled with six big guys with concealed weapons, and now he and four of them are gone (with Ziva). Two, however, are at the pool, flirting with Swedish ladies.

In an attempt to sober her up, Ollie gives Yaffa some herbal stimulants, but soon she's into the minibar.

At the pool, Maggie wields her feminine charms (and Italian) to great effect, and learns that the two bodyguards stayed behind to receive a shipment of motorcycles that they'll load onto the powerboat docked nearby. She also learns their room number, which Leon hears over the comm channel.

Leon heads there immediately, hacks the hotel door lock, and steals one of their suitcases which contains nice clothes, and a submachine gun.

After hearing how much Maggie just loves boats, bodyguard Alexander offers to show her, and Stanislaw heads back to the room. The new couple strolls down the beach chatting, with Ollie and Nash tailing nonchalantly, and Ransom trailing behind them.

Stanislaw discovers the theft and notifies Alexander, but he seems more concerned with getting Maggie to the boat.

Leon heads out to get the SUV and all the gear while Maggie sips champagne charmingly in the grand living room of the yacht.

Meanwhile, Ollie, Ransom, and Nash approach the boat at dusk and see Maggie chatting away. Ollie steps in and uses his Taser on the hapless Alexander, who crumples.

Leon can't seem to talk (or shoot) his way through pier security, so he leaves and tries the private residence next door. There is a route down to the beach, but it's really just a gully with a little wooden bridge over it, and, lacking expert driving skills, Leon aborts -- especially when the homeowner comes out with a flashlight.

Then Alexander's cell phone rings -- Maggie picks it up and says Alexander's in the bathroom. Stan reports that the delivery is on the way.

From the control room above, Nash spots the captain of the vessel, a grizzled Greek fisherman, and accosts him without incident.

Leon knows he needs to get the gear to his team, and returns to the residence and goes for it. He plows the rented SUV through the underbrush, smashing the footbridge and eventually careening onto the beach, where he loses control and rolls the vehicle onto its side in the sand. The pier is a quarter mile away, and so he uses Ollie's riot shield as a sled, piles everyone's gear atop it, and starts the trek.

The delivery truck arrives and Stan and the driver unload the bikes. The driver leaves with the empty truck, and Ollie Tasers Stan. A few quick uppercuts from Ransom, and both bodyguards are fast asleep, tied up with towels in the bathroom.

The team loads the bikes onto the boat and gathers info from the cooperative captain. "Mr. Ivan" is rich and powerful and has a hilltop villa on Samothrace, a large island with a small city and a few small villages. The approach to the villa, according to the captain, is in a cliff-enclosed horseshoe-shaped harbor. Millennia-old stairs carved into the cliff lead to the compound above.

Head out to sea en route to Samothrace, the more the team hears about the approach, the more it sounds like a death trap. They debate alternatives, and finally use Alexander's phone to send a text to Mr Ivan himself, claiming engine trouble, and a plan to dock at the nearby fishing village.

Later, they send another text claiming to be the captain, and that Alexander and Stanislaw are drunk, fought, and are passed out now. Ivan texts back that he'll send a jeep and four men for the bikes.

Alex and Stan are left beaten up in the bathroom, and Leon gives €900 to the captain to maintain the story that they were drunk and fought. Leon keeps the bodyguards' cellphones.

The team unloads the bikes, chooses the five with the most gas, and rides slowly towards Ivan's compound.

Along the way they debate what to do about the men sent to collect the bikes, who were likely coming down the same road the team was headed up. Options are reviewed roadside, and Ollie gets fed up at the preoccupation with violence, and rides ahead to be away from it.

Maggie sets a charge and blows up the hillside to cover the road with dirt and rocks as an obstacle. The team moves into the shrubs and turns off their headlights....

Showdown in Samothrace

Ivan Kostoff, international criminal

Soon, a contingent of gun-bristling goons comes down the road; not just one jeep, but also an SUV and two dirt bikes. Evidently, Leon's €900 wasn't enough to persuade the old ship captain.

Slobodan Kostoff, international criminal

The goons slowly navigate the roadblock (luckily, thinking nothing of it) and proceed down the mountain towards the fishing village miles beyond. After retrieving Ransom from the throes of gastrointestinal distress, the team proceeds up the hill.

Martin Kostoff, international criminal

A few miles away, near the southeastern tip of the island, a gravel driveway snakes off to the right, towards the coast. Nash identifies fresh tracks belonging to a pair of dirt bikes, and the team discusses how to approach Ivan's compound.

Valeria, Ukrainian model

Meanwhile, Ransom slinks into the bushes to relieve himself yet again.

The squad rolls their motorcycles into a nearby thicket, sorts through their inventory eith an eye to mobility and leaves the ailing Ransom to keep watch at the driveway entrance.

The gravel driveway snakes back and forth in switchbacks up the steep hill, but the team avoids it and hikes straight up along its southern perimeter. Leon dons nightvision gear to guide the team through the rocks and gnarled old thorn bushes, and after several exhausting minutes, the team crests the hill and encounters four tremendous hogs in a pen. The beasts wander over and snort loudly.

From here, the team can see Ivan's villa, illuminated by two great forward-facing floodlights mounted to polls at the front of the house. A delivery van and new Mercedes SUV sit in a wide boulder-lined parking lot out front. Light and voices emerge from the house.

The team circles around behind the hog pen and into an ancient cliffside olive grove, and then further into a statuary, which briefly startles Nash.

Soon, the squad is directly behind the house, thirty yards from the wall, and well concealed in high grasses and low shrubs. A sole guard is visible, smoking a cigarette, leaning against the back of the building, and the team wisely waits for him to move along his patrol.

Then the impulsive Leon goes for it. He scurries to the house, tests a window, and then climbs up into the master bedroom upstairs. Meanwhile, Maggie prepares two C4 charges in the dark.

Soon, the entire team has infiltrated the master bedroom, and the charges are placed against the back wall outside. And Leon has pocketed €60,000 and a $5000 Rolex.

Ollie utilizes his snake-cam to peer beneath the door, and a thick necked bodyguard is visible, pouring himself a drink, alone at a bar. The team waits for him to go downstairs, and then enters the upstairs lounge, complete with a dance floor and mini movie theater.

Voices (and more snake-cam work) indicate there are two bodyguards, Ivan, another man, and a blonde woman below.

Maggie remote detonates one of the C4 charges outside, Ollie tosses a flashbang down the stairs, and all hell breaks loose.

Maggie downs the two bodyguards with three bullets each into their bear-like torsos. Nash, after recovering from a stumble upstairs, joins Leon in covering stunned Ivan.

Ivan draws a gun and blindly rakes the ceiling with bullets, leading Nash and Leon to nearly sever his weapon arm with bullets.

Then Leon chases the other man and the blonde outside. A couple well-aimed bullets drop the mystery man and raises the blonde's screams by an octave.

Meanwhile, Ollie is beset by PTSD visions, and recedes into his thoughts while Maggie tries to slap him into conscious awareness.

Leon brusquely advises the girl to calm down, and gives her the keys to the Mercedes and tells her to get lost. She pleads, "please take me with you," and Leon relents, instead giving her directions to meet up with Axel and their plane back on the mainland. She drives off.

Ollie comes to and helps stabilize the injured Ivan, coaxing intel out of him in the process. Ziva, it turns out, is downstairs.

Nash volunteers to go down and collect her. Below, a billiards table dominates the room, beyond which a brown leather couch sits next to the water heater, to which Ziva is handcuffed. And then three shots ring out, and a bullet tears through Nash's cheek, dropping him to the floor, stunned.

Ziva starts shouting urgently that the assailant is behind the couch, and once Nash regains his senses, he empties his clip into the fine Italian leather in a sweeping arc, and the shooter collapses in a pool of blood.

Ollie makes the call to Daniel that his his daughter is safe, and the team packs up and heads home.


As the closing credits roll...

  • Leon has Ransom stop the girl at the bottom of the driveway and give her an alternate plan
  • Ollie tells Axel to fly to the small regional airstrip on Samothrace to meet them
  • Maggie drives the delivery truck (loaded with animatronic sex dolls) down to the airstrip, where Leon and Axel load a dozen of them onto the plane.
  • Once aloft, Maggie does some research and learns that their injured captive is Bulgarian Ivan Kostoff, an international criminal wanted for crimes including gun running, money laundering, human trafficking, and murder.
  • Axel flies the team to Rome, where they check in Nash for some microsurgery for his injury, and Ivan is quietly turned over to international law enforcement.
  • After a few days of seeing the sights, Axel flies the team, the cargo, and Valeria back to the villa in Corsica.
  • Everyone now has a five-point Enemy in the Kostoff Family

Duty Calls: Algerian Edition

Kaptain Karim

While Maggie tours the Vatican, the rest of the team lounges at the villa for a couple weeks. Leon spends most of his time at one of his network terminals, researching the Kostoff empire in Europe.

Russian-accented Yusef Leon

Domestic tranquility comes to a halt when Nigel announces that he needs help getting someone out of a bunker in Algeria -- immediately.

Sniper Amina

The team gears up, informs Ransom and Maggie of their intentions, and flies first to Morocco, where Nigel's contacts have arranged local transportation assistance from a special forces squad, consisting of Captain Karim, gunner Yusef Leon, sniper Amina, and handsome medic Ahmed. The locals smoke hashish frequently, which the team declines.

Medic-mechanic-driver-lover Ahmed

A dark four hour drive puts the team in the border town of Figuig at dawn, where hotel arrangements have been made by the Captain. At mid-day, Ollie and Yusef wander the streets a bit, where the white-skinned Ollie is best by begging children, whom he gladly obliges. More importantly, Ollie confirms previously received intel that their target, Dr. Erik Voltz, pass through town earlier in the month.

At sunset, the team loads back into their .50-cal-equipped Toyota, and Ahmed drives them over the border on goat trails using only night-vision goggles.

Once in Algeria, the team picks up the trail outside a remote desert village and tracks several vehicles up a washed-out ravine. While pausing to identify the trail, a drone approaches in the night. After some debate, knowing that it could be American, or Chinese, or corporate, the team decides the best tactic is to take it down. Amina does so with aplomb, and the robot warrior plummets from the sky in flames. She also notes that the drone was American (keen ears).

Simultaneously, the team spots a cookfire on a ledge halfway up a cliff. Amina's optics confirm it is two armed Algerian militia members, one of whom is raising a communicator to his mouth. The team makes a snap decision, which Captain Karim confirms, and Amina takes their lives from fifteen hundred meters away.

Pressing onwards with nightvision engaged, the team spots vehicle tracks leading into a reinforced ravine that leads into a tunnel beneath the cliff, from which a dim red light emanates. They proceed on foot, with Leon in the lead, and Yusef in tow.

Leon expertly sneaks ever closer, eventually slithering beneath a parked SUV in a large crimson-lighted cave. A militiaman stands vigil, smoking, and after hearing Ollie stumble in the dark, soon wanders over to the retinal-scan communication system besides a massive steel blast door. Unwilling to allow the man to communicate to further hostile forces, Leon takes the shot, and drops him.

Seeing the massive steel door and presuming the bunker is well-defended, the team checks in with Maggie and Ransom, just in case they happen to be in a friend's surveillance plane at 60,000' above.

Algerian Mop-Up

Alas, Ransom is still afflicted at the villa, and Maggie, her trip to the Vatican complete, has been enjoying the the shopping of upper-class Rome.

Yusef covers the exit while the rest of the team advances. After a quick search of the vehicles (during which a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon is found), Ollie and Leon collaborate to hold the fallen militiaman up to the retinal scanner, and the giant blast doors hiss and open, revealing a long, red-lit corridor culminating in a second set of blast doors.

Those are similarly breached, and the team wanders into a vast high-ceilinged chamber with a mirrored security station, multiple American Humvees, an immense diesel generator, and a number of corridors leading to different wings of the secret under-mountain complex. Only one is lit.

Up the lit corridor, one militiaman is shot dead by Leon, and two more nationalists are repelled by Ollie's flash ad smoke grenades.

Meanwhile, Amina reports (through Yusef) that multiple vehicles are visible a few miles away, wending their way through the sand towards the complex.

After investigating the prospect of disabling the generator, Nash decides to help Yusef deal with the oncoming reinforcements (and get out from under eight million tons of rock).

Ollie follows Leon into the breached security station and Ollie runs down a quivering scientist with his riot shield. The scientist is left hog-tied after interrogation, Leon hacks the security and life support systems, and the two operatives make their way in the dark, night-vision donned.

In the science lab, a brief standoff is ended with a pair of flashbangs, but not before Ollie's hand is nearly shot off by a stray bullet from a militiaman's AK-47.

Ollie and Leon move in, terminating blinded militiamen as needed, and capture their quarry, Dr. Voltz, who is compliant and meek. The good doctor reveals that there are three human subjects, two unwitting and driving back at the moment, and one strapped to a cot in the next room. He also his points to experimental serum samples in a nearby dorm fridge, and Ollie stuffs a flashbang in to destroy them.

Leon downloads and introduces a lethal computer virus into the research network, and then drags the doctor along to apprehend Subject #3.

They find him, a well-built young Moroccan, mute and near catatonic, and lead him out in a daze.

As they proceed towards the exit, Nash lets an RPG fly, disrupting the column of goons headed back to kill everyone. The chaos creates cover for the team to reconvene and drive the hell away.

On the way back towards the border, Amina urges both vehicles to turn off ignition and all light-producing devices, and in the ensuing silence and darkness, four American Blackhawk helicopters cut a swath through the stars fifty feet above, headed towards the underground complex.

Shortly, Nash checks in with Scitek and is told to leave the doctor with the Moroccan team for debriefing, and to put a bullet in the brain of the test subject, and leave him in the sand for the vultures and beetles. As for any payment for participating team members, Scitek says certainly, as soon as we receive DNA samples.

The team declines, and takes the subject back to the villa....

Mission Accomplished.

Two Guys Walk Into A Bar

Valeria, dancer, shopper.

Agent Zero contacts Nash Awan and suggests he introduce himself and the team to freelancer operative Robbie Robertson, who happens to be researching Kostoff family malfeasance on the Greek resort isle of Santorini. Nash takes the opportunity to show Valeria a good time.

Sure enough, Nash finds Robbie sitting at the bar, poring over financial data and news articles about the infamous crime family with whom Nash himself has had unpleasant dealings.

While Valeria gyrates on the dance floor, the two men have a conversation, and realize some common goals and values. However, the frequent mention of the Kostoffs seems to tip off the bartender to an opportunity, and soon a broad-shouldered thug arrives to find out what's going on.

Murder is considered on the balcony overlooking the frolicking poolside bikinis below, but in the end, cooler heads prevail and Robbie gives his accumulated research to the thug when asked.

Later, sitting in the back corner of a nearby restaurant, four new thugs arrive and look intent on causing some harm. Nash and Robbie open fire with great success, scattering screaming civilians.

A key to a marina gate is collected from a corpse, and, while Valeria shops at the finest stores, the dynamic duo head down to the sea.

At the end of the private pier, past a series of million dollar boats, sits a super-yacht crawling with machine-pistol-toting, black turtleneck wearing goons, who seem locked in some sort of debate.

Approaches are considered, and finally the team slips into the cool Mediterranean waters and attach like barnacles to ladders attached to the craft, just before it unmoors and heads out into open waters.

Just after sunset, five miles out to sea, a flashbang and a few more bullets clears the deck efficiently. But there are two or three decks below, and so a quick tactical discussion commences, and the hovering pigeon-sized Scitek drone seems of no help at all, despite Nash's requests.

Robbie finds intriguing nautical charts indicating a recent or future trip down the west coast of Africa, but there's no time to study them when movement is heard below.

Robbie's (TL9) mini-grenade provides a solution, turning the luxury chambers below into a tangle of meat and fiberglass wreckage, and, unfortunately, breaching the hull with a dozen jagged tears.

A long swim is considered, but Scitek finally replies that Nash's requests for assistance have been acknowledged, and so the survivors sit tight as the yacht sinks peacefully. Just before dipping their toes in the water, an elderly fisherman arrives and takes the team back to dry land.

Fast friends now, Robbie and Nash pick up Valeria and spend the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel, before returning to the team's compound in Corsica the following afternoon to consider implications and next steps.

Ah, Africa

For weeks, Jason Eder and Sophocles Tatapu sat in a bar in Senegal, earning a scant $1,000 per day to be "available" and conduct occasional port surveillance. Finally, a mission:

Robbie Robertson was on the way to join them and conduct an operation in nearby Guinea to locate and retrieve the missing Luna Jansen, heiress of Otto Jansen, a fabulously wealth Dutch diamond broker and friend of Agent Zero's.

Luna Jansen, missing heiress

It seemed simple enough, but shortly after the rendezvous, Sophocles got word that an old enemy was in town, hunting him down. Naturally, Sophocles turned the tables and began the hunt himself, with Jason along to provide recon and air support.

That left Robbie alone at the bar without a team, and so Agent Zero recruited Nash Awan and, serendipitously, Ollie Foster, who was just completing an epic paddleboard journey from Israel to the villa in Corsica.

While awaiting pickup, Robbie researches Luna, and Guinea politics, and commits important names and faces to memory.

Pilot Axel Bergen cranked up the volume and flew Nash and Ollie to Senegal, where they picked up Robbie and made the short hop over to Conkary, the capital of Guinea, deftly avoiding various burned-out wreckage of former failed landings on the weed-sprouting tarmac.

A welcoming committee of skinny, stoned, shirtless teenagers with AK-47s extracted their due compensation before being chased off by the professional extortionists, the local military. All fees, taxes, and tithes were negotiated and transferred, and the party was subsequently introduced to Colonel Mahud, one of the 'notable locals' who thrived through graft and brutality.

Colonel Mahud, military strongman
John Doe, assistant to Mr. Britsworth
Brian Britsworth, lover of scotch

Nonetheless, the colonel recognized opportunity, and arrangements were made for lodging and a government driver to aid the team on their mission, the details of which they freely shared.

After dark, the team decided to chance it and wander into the rubble-strewn city in search of British diplomat Brian Britsworth, a connection Agent Zero suggested. After skulking through the humid shadows amid various flavors of criminals and their victims, the team paused as a tall hooded drunk staggered towards them. The drunk shot them a glance, and then walked by and turned a corner.

A hushed debate ensued, and after a minute or so, the team split up to pursue, with Robbie deftly scampering up to the rooftops. The drunk, suddenly sober and fit, took off running, and the team gave chase, with Nash in the lead.

Robbie attempted a long jump across an alley, but didn't make it, and bruised ribs in the process. Ollie paused to provide aid, but Robbie waved him off.

Around the next corner, the drunk revealed himself to be white, British, and armed; Nash stared down the barrel of a pistol.

After a brief standoff, truths were divulged (aside from the stranger's offered name, John Doe), and the team was escorted to a secret underground British pub, full of beer-swilling mercenaries, spies, and a handful of diplomats, including Brian Britsworth, who turned out to have a head full of scotch, a state in which the team grew to suspect was a state of normalcy for the man.

Oswald, Aussie mining representative

Britsworth filled the team in on some local dynamics, the two mining companies struggling to control inland mineral resources, the tribes whose loyalty they purchased, the criminal syndicates that sold them weapons. And, he was aware that Luna Jansen and her husband were volunteers at a Catholic mission some 250km into the jungle, but not that she'd gone missing. Finally, he offers a trustworthy local teenager, Ding Ding, to help with tribal languages and customs, since the driver the colonel has provided, Tahini won't be of much use in that regard.

The next morning, the team heads into the jungle in a government jeep driven by Tahini and entertained by Ding Ding. Hours later, after a treacherous bridge traversal and a sketchy extortion barricade (where the Ding Ding reports that the thugs are worried if they don't extract enough cash from the roadside today, the Australians will beat their mothers), they arrive at the mission, overseen by Father Patrick O'Leary.

Interpreting his job as done, Tahini drives back to the city, and the team goes inside to see Luna's husband, a pale milquetoast who was beaten by Australian thugs to within an inch of his life. It turns out that Luna went out for revenge a few days ago. In an ornate box among her personal effects, Nash finds a box of 9mm ammunition, almost empty. The priest offers a WW2-era motorcycle and sidecar, and the team leaves Ding Ding behind in their quest through the ankle-deep mud to confront the Australians, the leader of whom is referred to as Oswald.

Arriving after dark, the team approaches one of the few ramshackle structures emitting some light and noise. They note the Toyota trucks with mounted .50-cal guns parked outside, and step within.

With Robbie's sport jacket and Ollie's riot shield standing out immediately among the drunk Australian thugs, Oswald himself confronts them.

They claim they're American mercenaries looking for jobs. Oswald grins and says, "All right, mates, here's the location coordinates of a Danish mercenary camp. Go blow it up."

Nodding, the team recedes into the night and decides to fan out through the camp to see if they can locate lovely Luna. In fact, she finds them, confronting Nash in the dark. Once it's sorted out that the team is there to rescue her, she explains her situation: after the beating the Aussies gave her husband, she's back for revenge. She has a pistol, and has bought the loyalty of three young tribesmen who hover in the shadows nearby. Will the team help? Or carry her back to Amsterdam, vengeance deferred?


Nash, Ollie, and Robbie eventually convince Luna that nothing good will come of attacking Oswald, and spirit her and her husband away to safety. (And got paid.)

Jason Eder went back to Senegal to continue collecting his $1000/day for flying his custom-made drones.

Sophocles Tatapu went underground.