String Theory

(S)Entries
  • Hired by Georg Rudek for parties unknown, Robin, Scarlet and John (all cover identities) agree to steal a laptop from Brigadier-General Malcolm Lennart, a Canadian Air force officer working with the UN.
  • The job goes off without a hitch but as they cross over from Sarajevo to Serbia, they find themselves pursued by a group of bikers, the Night Wolves.
  • Though John does a fair job at the wheel of the Jeep Cherokee, they eventually crash into a barrier. Robin managed to commandeer one of the motorcycles and helps whittle down the gangs numbers.
  • After overpowering and/or killing the remaining bikers, they take the survivor Yoan to interrogate.
  • Yoan reveals the gang (based out of Bulgaria) was directed by their boss Boris (deceased by a good shot by Robin) under orders from their chapter boss Axeman.
  • Having extracted all information, they eliminate Yoan, find and disable the tracking device on the laptop (which is a modified version used by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), and exchange their jeep for a stolen car.
  • Robin calls the contact number and leaves a message about a change of meet location to a night club she knows well in Belgrade. She also plants burner phone number on the ditched jeep for pursuers.
  • Robin takes them a nearby safe house with surveillance supplies which Scarlet uses to keep an eye on things.
  • Scarlet uncovers Anton’s ambush preparations. Quietly John takes out his sniper while Robin sneaks into Anton’s car and puts a gun to his head. When he resists she underlines her point by stabbing him in the leg.
  • Persuaded Anton directs his goons to leave the money in the club and drive away. Scarlet retrieves it and find it is fake.
  • Under pressure Anton babbles about vampires and claims he no longer has their money.
  • Then Werewolves attack. One savages Scarlet badly while another gives Anton’s BMW a sunroof. John wrestles with a third. Robin and Anton manage to throw theirs on a wrought iron fence while John barely escapes.
  • Robin leaves Anton under the watchful gun of a very hurt Scarlet. She then retrieves John in a second stolen car.
View
(S)Entries , Part II
  • Anton turns the tables on Scarlet, escapes and attempts to capture her. She manages to evade him and rejoins the others.
  • After patching themselves up at Serge Milic’s safe house, they do some digging. Along the way they try to trace the money trail for their payment. Scarlet messes up and Serbian gangster come for them. Serge is not happy.
  • After escaping the gangsters, Robin uses her contact Zer0 to track down Rubek to Lebanon.
  • Using cover identities they cross the border to Montenegro and then fly to Lebanon.
  • They arrive too late and discover Rubek is already dead. From hotel footage and evidence at crime scene, he was killed by Madison Smith, a supposedly deceased comrade of John’s. She must possess superhuman strength and a poisonous (paralytic) bite.
  • The group finds another safehouse via Scarlet’s contact Peter Yared. There they dig into the laptop and into Brigadier-General Malcolm Lennart himself. They find his mother recently recovered from cancer thanks to the help of Panecea Pharmaceuticals which suggests he might have been leveraged by the Conspiracy.
  • After recovering the SIM card from Georg Rudek’s phone, Scarlet tracks his recent calls to a boat in the Danube in Belgrade. That boat belongs to Danilo Brigovic, a boss in Nasa Stvar.
View
The Call
  • Madison Smith is noted as John’s personal nemesis.
  • As the agents review the data at hand, Robin gets a call on her burner phone. The caller Josef Lisky, head of the Lisky Bratva, wants the laptop and agrees to pay 200 euro each for it. They agree to meet his agent, a vor named Foma Zivanoviv, at One Beirut in two nights.
  • Scarlet investigates the Bratva via Lennart’s laptop. With Accounting help from Robin she learns a couple items:
    • The dossier connects the Lisky Bratva’s funding to the conspiracy, and suggests that a lot of their cash comes out of Odessa.
    • „Accounting traces clear connections between the conspiracy, the Lisky Bratva and the Black Sea Bank. The takeover of the Koernersbank is seen by most commentators as a bizarre misstep by the Black Sea Bank, with some speculating that the BSB is trying to buy respectability and a toehold in Switzerland. Certainly, the move makes little financial sense.
  • After flagging those sections in her copy of the computer, she installs a tracer program on laptop.
  • Robin scopes the club, using Architecture to gain pool of 9 points to spend when dealing with infiltration, combat or escaping the building. We also establish that (via a Criminology spend) that she knows Foma and his tells.
  • Two night later they go to the club. Robin goes in alone, meets with Foma, reveals via video the laptop, and get half of the payment wired. As the others enter the club, Scarlet (via a lucky Sense Trouble notes incoming attackers (one of whom has a bomb vest) and warns Robin.
  • Robin checks that the Russians were not aware and then escapes through a window, grabbing a light and swinging down to the second story rail from the VIP room. she then dismounts from the rail to the dance floor. All in a miniskirt. She gets an Athletics refresh.
  • Then there is an explosion. An athletics roll is made to avoid damage from debris. They spend their pool. Only Robin takes any damage.
  • As Robin escapes out through the sewers, others move out with the crowd. They spot and evade searchers by ducking down an alley and hiding in a garage (found via Human Terrain spend)
  • As they hide, they overhear the men discuss how their boss Asif Amjad, ex-explosives expert for ISIS, will be upset. But they seem more afraid of someone called “the Bride.”
  • They then retrieve the jeep from meet site A, drive to site B, grab Robin, and then pick from their many escape options. Ditching their plan to fly to Morocco, they take a boat to Cyprus. They have Hot Lead 5.
  • From there they take a charter to Athens. At the airport, they hack the security camera and lay down a false trail (Electronic Infiltration contest).
  • They drive north to Albainia, ditch and clear the vehicle, and take train north. Hot Lead 7.
  • (Failing a pursuit roll) On the train they are attacked by goons. Robin hears them coming and sets up an ambush.
  • Robin throws pack into lead goon, surprising him (investigative spend of infiltration). John unload shotgun into goon, Scarlet also fires. Robin does support, spraying fire extinguisher into hall (investigative spend of shooting to boost Hit thresholds by 1) and turning off lights quickly (investigative spend of athletics to do the same).
  • Once most are down, Robin grabs one as a mook shield and does second attack at goon with machine gun. The return fire is mostly absorbed by the now dead goon.
  • John Intimidates the last one into surrendering. They learn the contact info for his boss.
  • They then ditch the train and steal a boat, since John remembers he can Pilot a boat. They escape to Italy. Hot Lead 9.
View
Post Mortem
  • With John hunting down a lead of his own, the rest of the team take a train across Italy and then a ferry to Corsica.
  • In transit Scarlet and Robin investigate a suspicious delivery van. Some quick cell phone investigation (and Criminology spend) turns up that the men in the cab are “Lefty” Rico and Bronco, Italian hit men associated with the Serbian mob.
  • In the vehicle bay, Robin watches the men (plus a third) talk. Lefty seems worried about something in the van. After Lefty and Bronco head upstairs, she sneaks up to van. She spots a werewolf inside and it smells her. As it bursts its chains, she shuts the door and finds cover.
  • Up above, Scarlet attempts to impersonate a German tourist but fails to blend in. As a rain storm moves in, she is spotted and Lefty grabs her. She quickly escapes heading down below.
  • As Scarlet hits the fire alarm, Robin targets the gas tank a nearby car as the werewolf escapes. The blast burns it badly and wounds Lefty as he hurries after Scarlet. He warns Bronco to remember the word and then fires at the women.
  • Scarlet shoots and kills Lefty while Bronco is torn apart by the werewolf. The sprinklers turn on.
  • The werewolf charges them and a pair of sailors who came down to deal with the fire. Robin gets bruised up and a sailor dies before the ebast is taken down by close range gun fire.
  • Scarlet grabs the dogtags from the body and a sample of its blood.
  • Robin grabs some notes from van (aided by a fire extinguisher she retroactively grabbed via Preparedness)
  • After a comedy of failures to avoid officials, the pair escape police scrutiny and reach the safe house (it involved a successful Disguise by Scarlet, a failure by Robin plus a failure to hide. she is saved by a rumor about speedboat created by her companion)

Werewolf intel

  • The body was that of a man, heavily modified by surgery and drugs. Signs of adrenaline and steroid abuse were present.
  • Dog tags identify him as Sgt. Patrick McDermott, a former navy SEAL. He was connected to Madison Smith’s unit.
  • Some chemistry work allowed them to concoct drug regime to counter act the artificial adrenaline in the creature’s system.

Going Forward

NBAgents.jpg

After mapping out connections, the team decided that targeting Danilo Brigovic would yield the most intel for the least work. With Scarlet hanging back to pour over the laptop contents, John and Scarlet geared up for a return trip to Belgrade.

View
The Red Eagle
  • After holding up in the mountains for month, the team has put together a plan of action. They intend to shake Brigovic to see what he knows and who responds.
  • Joining them on this mission is Guy, a wheelman and smuggler who used to work with John when he was with the CIA.
  • John meanwhile looked into Madison. His mentor the Chessplayer informed him about a rogue operation in Germany that might be related.
  • Once back in Belgrade, John and Robin slip on board the mobster’s party barge under the guise of a rich heiress and her bad boy date. After staging a fight between the two (and 2 point Flirting spend), Robin gains Brigovic’s trust. He takes her up to his room for some privacy.
  • Robin convinces him to engage in some playful bondage. Once he’s tied up, she Interrogates him (1 point spend) to get the details on his employer.
  • She learns The Bride and Madison are the same person. She and another operative, Talbot, help over see the human trafficking operation here in Belgrade. The laptop theft was for the Bride and not a normal operation. She extracts info on his warehouse’s defenses, robs his safe, and takes his phone and laptop.
  • Outside John scouts the defenses. Brigovic’s door is guarded by his bodyguard. Once Robin alerts him that she is done, he distracts the guard (via Intimidate spend) to give a 3 point Infiltration refresh for Robin’s escape.
  • The pair then slip aboard Guy’s boat before anyone is the wiser.
  • John gets a call from the DOD, Sergei is dead. John goes to check it out. With Guy driving the getaway car and Robin on overwatch, he pretends to be a cop and checks the corpse.
  • Sergei however reanimates and attacks him. John shoots him through the temple (and out the other). Black slime oozes from the wound as Segei throws him across the room. John manages to escape Sergei to the street. As he leaps into Guy’s car, Sergei jumps on the back. Guy shakes him and they toss a molotov (thanks to Preparedness) at him for good measure.
  • The team reassembled at the hotel. John showers. Examining some of the dirt from the corpse, they learn he likely was at Brigovic’s warehouse. Also the black slime seems to be a bacterial mass, specifically containing the black plague.
  • At that point the hacked lobby cameras (Electronic Surveillance) alert them to the authorities arrival.
  • As Robin and John sneak out the back, they notice Madison and her allies waiting for them. A rooftop chase ensues: from fire escape to rooftop, down a storm drain and through a market, before the pair get some bicycles and head fro the meet site.
  • They lose Madison early with another Molotov and Preparedness roll.
  • Guy wanders out, trying not to attract attention (and uses Preparedness to wipe the hotel video). He then races to meet the others, just missing them at the market. He instead finds Madison at the meet and drifts into hit her. She takes a lot of damage and ends up underneath his Audi.
  • John spots the trouble and Guy floors it going nowhere. Madison begins to lift the car and he ducks out, cutting the fuel line along the way. As Guy calmly walks away, John ignites the gas, killing Madison and destroying the car.
  • Robin snatches Madison’s phone and with Preparedness takes a limb (with an axe and heat resistant clothing). They then escape into the city.
View
Operation Rollup
  • Nasir, an ex-Pakistani Intelligence Cuckoo, who engages the group upon discovering they face a threat similar to one he has seen in the past. Some of the team has worked with him in the past but Robin remains skeptical.
  • Scarlet arrives in Belgrad suffering from amnesia. She holds it together however (Stability check). Under hypnosis she recalls an attack through a window. Analysis of her wounds and other clues support the narrative of an attack on the cabin. A single strangely blurry photo shows her attacker (thanks to a Photography spend). Oddly everything but the intruder is in focus.
  • To remove the local human trafficking operation and destroy this node of the conspiracy, the team decides to split in two. One team will blow the warehouse while the other hijacks the next outbound shipment of slaves/refugees/werewolf food. Robin fails her Preparedness roll roll to retroactively have the command words for the werewolves.
  • Robin and Nasir infiltrate to plant the charges (Robin piggybacks and Nasir uses his MOS). John (now on the other team) constructed them from materials procured by another team member (with Preparedness). They have some extra punch (since he spent extra on the Explosives roll)
  • John and Guy plan to hijack the truck once the container is hooked up. Guy uses Traffic analysis to find where the truck is likely to get bogged down on the way to the warehouse. He and John then hook themselves to the bottom of the truck and ride it in.
  • Scarlet meanwhile hacks the security cameras (Digital Intrusion) and watches. She makes her Sense Trouble roll and alerts the others to Serge’s arrival. The guards sicken as he approaches and he crushes the neck of the survivor.
  • Inside Nasir begins setting charges while Robin takes the high ground. They both maek the necessary Infiltration checks.
  • As Serge forces his way in, Guy and John roll out from under the truck and jump in. Guy uses his Driving MOS to avoid anyone catching them on foot.
  • A car chase ensues as one jeep races after them. Two goons fire from the jeep while John fires back at the driver. One wheel is shot out before John puts two rounds in the driver ending the chase.
  • Inside with the charges set, Nasir and Robin bug out, exiting just after the back guards move in to save Danilo Brigovic from Serge. They steal a boat, drive across the river and then trigger the bomb.
  • Scarlet plants evidence to suggest Islamic terrorists were behind this. Guy ditches the truck and everyone evades the police. One last video feed shows Serge emerging from rubble (despite taking 18 explosive damage, 9 falling rubble damage, and many machine gun rounds).
  • The team individually leaves Serbia. Guy under the guise of “El Gordo” a food blogger, Nasir as Fazah Ahmed, an American Embassy Staffer, Scarlet travels as a doctor without borders and John uses his old military historian. Robin travels as translator. All make their cover checks.
  • John meets his mentor The Chessplayer and gets intel connecting a Dr. Gomez to the group creating these werewolves. Scarlet builds a dossier on her and the team plans to trail her when she next moves someone.
  • Robin meanwhile gets a line on a lucrative bank heist for their next gig. The target is a Swiss bank in the process of being acquired by Black Sea Bank, a tool of the Lisky Bratva.
View
Tracking Control

The team puts together their plan to abduct Dr. Gomez and learn what she knows about the surgically created monsters the Conspiracy keeps sending after them. Robin will infiltrate her home and subdue her. Nasir will then help move her into a waiting truck below, disguised as a washing machine delivery person. John will drive the truck and hang back as support while Scarlet watches remotely. They will transport her to secure an isolated self storage cubical for the interrogation.

Scarlet hacks Gomez’s phone. She gets her schedule, clearing the way for the abduction that evening. However she also detects and trips some state of the art CIA security software. Luckily she is able to spoof her location.

Robin slips into the apartment on the third floor during the day, waiting in a closet. Gomez arrives home and does her normal evening routine. But something triggers Gomez’s suspicions. As she retreats from the apartment, Robin rushes out and injects her with a sedative.

Gomez shakes off the effects and wrestles free. As she makes a break for the balcony, Robin tags her with a taser. The doctor stumbles onto the balcony and manages to swing down the level below.

Robin alerts the others and stays to take care of Gomez’s evening call in. John brings the truck around to ambush the doctor but she lands on top of it.

He starts forward hoping to knock her loose. She does lose her grip but tumbles to her feet. Nasir jumps out and fires his Taser, missing her.

John chases her down on foot. He tases her again before taking her out with a haymaker.

The men drag her to go to a secure location while Scarlet helps Robin complete the call in with some voice scrambling software.

At the interrogation, John poses as a U.S. official. Scarlet patches Gomez up and then leaves her to his probing questions. Gomez maintains her innocence but ultimately coughs up information on the headquarters for the operation, a ruined castle a few hours drive away.

They learn this is a CIA operation to fix up and enhance crippled and dying soldiers. Gomez is unaware of the full horror of the program. She does however tell them about Special Officer Steven Lynch and Doctor Gerhard as well as the details of the upper levels of the castle.

Robin recognizes the second name from her “second life” in espionage. She helped extract him from Russia’s biowarfare program, only to see the doctor and his Nazi based research disappear into American hands. Lynch is also a known operator, a former field agent benched after damage to his knee. He might have been John’s equal before the “accident”.

Once they have gotten everything from her, John calls up an old friend, Phil Drake, to debrief her while they move on to their next operation.

Robin suggests they let the CIA operation stew for now. The team heads for Zurich and the bank heist Robin has been planning. If all goes well this should fund the rest of the operation against the Conspiracy.

Once in Zurich basic surveillance turns up the external security systems, the daily routines, and the identity of the security team (SBS). Scarlet inserts a breaker switch to cut off the SBS in case an external alarm is triggered.

Nasir meanwhile impersonates a Saudi prince and opens an account at the bank. Jean Montavan happily shows him around, allowing him to scope out the internal security and the vault. He also notes the combinations to the basement and vault locks.

On the way out he notes someone watching from across the street. She disappears but they peg her as a possible thief. Based on his description the team determine she is Menena Chakroun, the so-called Queen of Thieves.

The team works on their plan. Nasir will snag Jean’s card the night of the theft, then they will sneak in with the cleaning crew. Once inside they will build a false wall and hide until everyone but the night guards leave. Scarlet will hack the central servers to loop the security feeds. They will break into the manager’s office where the keys are stored and retrieve them. Then they will slip down to the basement, use heat suits to get past the heat sensors, avoid the pressure plate and open the vault. Moving very slowly to avoid the motion sensors they will then rob the place starting with the money the Black Sea Bank is bringing in.

As they prepare, the agents notice another problem. Black birds and crows seem to be following them everywhere. Robin tranquillizes one and brings it back to their hideout (a hotel room) for study. Scarlet however discovers the bird is some sort of zombie, infected with the same bacteria that oozed out of Serge Milic. They cage it then seal it up once they realize it is sending out pheromones to communicate with its free brethren outside.

The team decides to break camp. John creates some noxious chemicals to cover their tracks and then they move location, leaving the bird behind.

Later as Robin and Nasir head back from a shopping trip, Nasir’s wallet is stolen. Spotting the thief as he doffs his disguise, Nasir chases after him, disguising himself as he goes. He quickly closes the gap, following the thief through a department store and into the back parking lot. Robin heads around the store to cut him off after buying a moped off a local.

The thief reaches his car just before the grab him. Then he goes up in smoke as it explodes.

As a crowd of onlookers watch the blazing wreckage, Nasir spots Menena and another man in the crowd. Robin recognizes the man from her earlier work: he’s Mossad. Nasir follows after them.

Then someone shoots at Robin! She spots the sniper in time to avoid the shot and then races up to the building top as he or she escapes. Robin tags the heavily clad sniper with a tracker and then alerts the rest of the team.

Scarlet tracks the signal as it fades in and out strangely. Eventually it settles where the Lisky Bratva have made camp. All camera footage along the route shows only blurs where the sniper should be. She’s not sure if there is just one or several of the “blurries” in town.

Meanwhile Nasir waits at a bar down the street from the flop house Menena and her team are hiding at.

View
The Heist

Having traced the supernatural sniper that shot at Robin to the Black Sea Bank’s security team, the agents tap their phones. Their security expert, Marko Shwetz, has a series of calls from a number located in Vienna. Aside from cryptic comments along the lines of “Shevlenko is in hand”, they also learn that the bank and therefore the Lisky Bratva seek a specific box from the vault, one that belongs to someone called “Philby.”

Scarlet gets a call from her old college friend Pamela Stacy, who is now an airline analyst. They reminisce about old times but Scarlet detects an undercurrent of fear in her friend’s voice. Pamela reveals she’s been followed for the past week by Russian thugs. Also a sick homeless man keeps appearing wherever she goes. Scarlet makes plans to meet her in Italy once her work in Switzerland is done.

Robin then reaches out to Keith Lawson, the man she saw with Menena Chakroun. He’s obviously part of this rival band of thieves. But Robin has worked with him before. He’s Mossad.

Keith hints at his mission: to collect files and records dealing with Nazi war criminals from the bank. He has no problem splitting the cash. He also lets her know about the rest of the team. Massimo Florin, the master safe cracker, is in it for the money. Menena says she is as well, but he suspects she has another angle.

Via Keith, they arrange a meet with the thieves in the backroom of a restaurant. After a sweep for bugs, Menena lays out her plan and how Mr. Smith, the thief who died, was supposed to help. Robin and Nasir point out that they have already completed those steps. The two groups decide to combine their resources and plans. Robin mentions Philby. Most of the thieves know nothing about it, but she can’t get a read on Menena.

A couple of days later as the bank shuts down for the day, Nasir bumps into Jean Montavan as he leaves the office. Keycard in hand he joins the others as they wait for nightfall.

Once only the night watchmen are left, the thieves as well as Robin, Nasir, and Scarlet zipline onto the roof. John and Guy wait outside in the getaway vehicle. Massimo cracks the door and they slip in.

Robin and Scarlet sneak past the security cameras to the server room. Once there, Scarlet hacks the computers and makes the cameras work for them. For the next few hours the guards only see looped footage.

With relatively free rein, Nasir, Menena and Massimo head to the manager’s office to grab the keys. Massimo cracks safe and Nasir spots an alarm on the key carasol. If more than one box key is taken at a time, the alarm will sound. Nasir disables it and they bag the hundreds of keys.

Nasir heads to the records room. He finds Lawson finishing up his own research. Nasir tracks down Philby’s box as well as a few other boxes from the same era.

The team then heads for the basement. They use Jean’s keycard plus the code Nasir saw earlier to access the basement, don heat suits to bypass the heat sensors and then use the vault key and the code Nasir spied to unlock the vault door.

Once inside Menena slowly disables the motion sensors. Then they start looting.

First to be packed away are the millions in diamonds and cash from the Black Sea Bank. They also snag some internal papers but choose to ignore the sealed cooler box. Nasir unlocks the Philby box and unloads its contents including a strange vial of red liquid. The others puzzle over some art and other valuables. Nasir finds lists of German names and addresses in one box which he lets Keith take after checking with Robin that he’s a Nazi hunter. In another box, Keith unloads a suitcase of Nazi gold. As a final odd piece of loot, Nasir grabs an antique pistol loaded with silver bullets.

Suitably laidened, the thieves and agents escape out the side door and into the night.

They head for the safe house at the airport hotel without any trouble. Just as they reach their room however, Robin spots a soft glow under the door. “No one but us know about this room,” Menena says.

Leaving the others, she pops open the door to the adjacent room, swings onto the balcony. Inside she observes someone fiddling with a phone in the dark while seated at a desk. She relays this to the others and slips inside.

The others knock at the door. The surprised man types something on the phone and calls them in. In the light of the hallway, they see Mr. Smith, the supposedly deceased pickpocket. He laughs about being dead and demands the vial. Nasir plays dumb while Robin tries to slip behind Smith.

“Boring,” he replies as he turns to swing at Robin with inhuman speed.

Robin dodges back. Smith leaves a fist sized hole in the wall. As they tussle, a sniper round cracks the glass balcony door. Massimo drops to the ground, dead.

Realizing she’s up against something like a werewolf, Robin pulls a beta blocker syringe and jabs it into him. Smith cries out in pain as his face melts into some other person’s.

Guy hears approaching footsteps from the door and fires at the first goon to come through the door. As the thug topples back into the hall, Nasir unloads the antique pistol into Smith. The silver bullet digs into his flesh which breaks out in hives.

Scarlet and Menena fire at the remaining goons while Keith grabs one and dents him into a wall. One of the thugs tosses a gas grenade into the room but Nasir dives for it and hurls it out the now broken balcony doorway.

Smith moves like a blur, smashing Robin into a wall and then that scratching his finger tips across her skin. As venom burns through her flesh, a second sniper round takes Keith in the leg. He grunts and falls to his knees, choking the life out of one of the goons before the other thugs pepper him with bullets.

As Keith bleeds out on the floor, Robin pulls the curtains closed to thwart further shots and keeps her distance from Smith. Guy pulls out a dart gun of beta blockers and shoots the inhuman Smith. Smith begins to sweat as the second dose cripples his system.

Smith swings at Robin again but she deftly dodges out of the way. As he curses at her, Guy puts a second dart into him. Suddenly he grabs his heart as he crumples to the ground. Nasir strides up and puts a silver slug in his brain.

Menena shoots and drops another thug, leaving only one in the doorway. As the survivor scrambles back into the hall, he spots John racing to the rescue. He screams into his walkie-talkie for backup as he retreats away from the team.

John smashes open the door to the stairs. Footfalls echo up from below. He pulls the pin on a grenade and hurls it at the first goon to come into sight.

The hotel shakes as the reinforcements meet their makers.

The ex-soldier emerges back in the hall as the rest of team dumps Smith’s corpse in a laundry cart. Scarlet stabilizes Keith and she and Nasir manuever him into the servant’s elevator. Taking the cart and their loot with them, the agents plus Menena grab Guy’s prepared van and flee before the authorities arrive.

As they hit the winding roads outside Zurich, three police cars race to intercept them. Guy guns the surprisingly powerful engine and drifts the van around corners to opens up a gap. John takes pot shots at the tires of the pursuers, puncturing one.

The police car crashes into a guard rail on a switchback before they hit a relatively straight path down the mountain. Guy avoids some early morning bicyclists and a slow truck, allowing the remaining cars to regain some ground.

Guy skirts a truck loaded with chickens hoping to get it to crash and block the road. The driver resists his intimidation, clipping the van before being rear ended by a police car.

With one car in pursuit, Guy spins the van around and waits until the police is almost on top of them until tearing off in another direction. Before the cops can recover, they disappear into the hills.

View
The Escape

Guy pulls into the small alpine village as the sun begins to hit the snowy mountain tops. Lawson sits up stiffly while Scarlet examines the bandages. The inside of the van smells of blood and old money. In the back lies “Smith”, the deceased werewolf, now wrapped in several layers of sheets. A quick look at his phone tells the agents he was really Quist, another of the CIA’s agents.

Nasir helps the team with their disguises and they head into town to buy some skis and hiking gear for the next leg of their exit from Switzerland. Italy and possible safety lies only a few miles away.

The ski shop is open early, full of just what they need to get across the snowy forests and slopes. As they finish picking out gear, the TV above the counter reports on the recent theft and the incident at the hotel. A series of grainy security footage, faked by Scarlet, fills the screen. Then it flips to several much more accurate sketches. A sleepy police officer in the men’s clothing section scrutinizes the team. Guy heads for the counter and distracts the pretty young clerk with some compliments on their selection while Scarlet and Robin conspicuously sneak into the back. As the officer heads to investigate, John materializes behind him and knocks him out with a single deft strike.

The three drag him into the back room and take his radio. They regroup with the others outside the store and head for the wilderness. Guy builds a makeshift sled for the corpse and they head for the border.

As they push through the snowy forest, the radio crackles to life. The police found Officer Hall and based on their purchases have an idea where they are headed. The agents and thieves pick up the pace. Sliding down a steep slope, they come to a partially frozen river. They cross quickly hoping to disguise their trail along the way.

Using the radio they monitor the police’s slow progress. Guy sets up a false trail in the woods as well as some snares and then leads the team to an Italian village across the border where he has another truck handy.

Guy drives them to a smuggler friend of his. There they make a arrangements to deliver the corpse to Germany and Doctor Gomez. After splitting the loot roughly with Menena and Lawson, they thank them. Keith let’s Robin know he owes her one for pulling him out of that ambush. After Menena leaves, Nasir slips the vial she stole from him at the bank back into his pocket.

Next the team decides to lay low. Scanning news reports on bird die offs, the team evades any zombie crow surveillance as they slip into Croatia. There they spend a week on the beach while the news outlets move on to the next story.

The agents also put out feelers through the black market for someone that can liquidate their stolen goods. They get the name of Hans Schmidt. The quiet man offers them 10% to take it off their hands. They decide to wait on the money until they need it.

John checks his voicemail and receives a disturbing message. His apartment in D.C. is being fumigated due to an infestation of rats infected with the plague. He realizes with dread that the conspiracy knows who he is.

Their vacation complete, the team heads to Germany for a surveillance operation on the CIA site. Watching the the ruined castle, they count over a dozen men, mostly green agents, at the base. A small medical staff supports Dr. Gerhardt. A supply truck visits a couple times a week. They manage to grab a list of goods being delivered. Based on that they suspect a dozen large “animals” (or more likely surgically modified soldiers) are held there.

The upper level appears to be prefab structures with narrow halls and electronic locks. The subterranean levels remain a mystery but seem substantial. They identify three entrances: the front door, an electronically locked grill just outside the walls, and, based on historical maps, a secret tunnel that exits into some woods two miles away.

They spot Gerhardt smoking outside several times a day. Guy suggests delivering a poisoned supply of his favorite brand.

As they consider that possibility they review the contents of Philby’s box. They suspect the Kipling’s novel might be a book cipher but without more information it is worthless. The letters suggest Kim Philby was looking for something in Iraq. An analysis of the photos suggests Philby and his son were tracking spies. All of them are now dead except for one: Arkady Shevlenko. That name matches some of the chatter they intercepted from the Black Sea Bank’s “security”. They decide to look deeper into him.

Robin complains none of this material worth the effort the Conspiracy put into obtaining the box. Nasir deflects that criticism and pushes the team to investigate Shevlenko.

Digging deeper into his background suggests that if anyone alive knows what the Philby’s were up to it would be him. The suspicious death of his son, signs in the Lennart’s files that Shevlenko might be leaking intelligence to the CIA, and the possible poisoning that led to his heart condition lend weight that there is more to learn here. Plus he is in Vienna right now for a trade conference.

The agents head for Vienna. Guy watches his staff and picks out his security detail: the secretary, the pretty nurse, the overworked assistant, and the obvious bodyguard. Robin recognizes the secretary, Volkov, from an earlier career. She knows Volkov appreciates professionalism. Guy also snaps a picture of an amulet that Shevlenko always wears. Scarlet identifies it as of Levantian craftsmanship and that it is several centuries old.

Nasir meanwhile pulls strings through his mining executive cover to get an invite to the conference. He snags Shevlenko’s schedule in the process, planning to intercept him at the reception at Hotel Europa. Before the reception he takes in the old spy’s talk, picking up clues in the talk that Shevlenko knows about vampires as well. He also notices that Shevlenko’s handlers don’t know Arabic, unlike the old man.

At the hotel, John poses as Nasir’s bodyguard while Robin works as arm candy. Outside Scarlet mans the communications with Guy waiting as an escape driver.

Nasir manages to engage Shevlenko in a conversation, plying him with drinks. The old man seems barely interested but perks up when Nasir enquires about the amulet and hints about vampires. They arrange a meeting and then Shevlenko leaves to get some air.

As the party spills into the gardens, Robin spots a Dracula wanna-be in the crowd. She snaps a picture and Scarlet identifies him as Sergei Rachov, a member of the Lisky Bratva. But she sees something else in the photo, a sickly youth who she suspects is a vampire.

Robin decides to check and also test one of the weapons they’ve devised on him. Slipping next to a waiter, she slips a syringe of antibiotics from under her dress and doses the champagne glasses. Then with a little flirting she sends the servant in the direction of the supposed monster. He takes a drink but as he sips, he begins to retch, hurling the glass away. He lurches off to the barn at the far side of the gardens, hacking all the way.

The team trails Shevlenko. As the old man sends one of his handlers back to the hotel, a strange static intrudes on their communications. Scarlet notices cell signals being distorted as well. It has CIA fingerprints on it. Shevlenko looking tired and weak sits down. Another handler hurries to get some paramedics, leaving the nurse and bodyguard. As the old man clutches his chest, four suspicious seeming paramedics quickly arrive. Outside, Guy notices the first handler occupied by the valet. Just as John and Robin realize this is a CIA extraction team, the vampire strikes. In seconds the four agents are reduced to bloody messes as Shevlenko looks on in horror. The nurse shields the bodyguard from intervening.

The monster grabs the bodies while the agents make themselves scarce. Loading them into the “ambulance”, he rides off into the night.

View
Out of the House of Ashes

As the ambulance pulls away from the hotel grounds, Scarlet tags it with a tracker. She and Guy then follow from a discreet distance while the rest of the team joins the other guests inside while security figures out what just happened.

The tracker shows the van racing along the Danube before finally leaving the road and diving into the river. Guy pulls up to the twisted railing with the police sirens still many minutes away. Scarlet dives in to see what can be salvaged. among the debris and remains, she pulls out a keycard for Hotel Centrale.

She relays this to the others who realize an operation like this would normally include a fifth member, a cleaner to remove all evidence after the rest of the team was done. That person might have more information for them.

However with most of the team still trapped at the party, Scarlet and Guy go off on their own to scout the Hotel Centrale. A card reader tells them to look at room 204. Surveillance turns up no signs of life or movement inside the hotel room. Scarlet does spot a wastepaper basket on the balcony still smoldering with destroyed papers.

Feeling safe from enemy action, Scarlet tries the room. Inside she smells fresh antiseptic. The room has been thoroughly if quickly cleaned. A phone book has been left out and a page marked inside shows a list of financial firms. Scarlet recognizes one as CIA front: CJH Investments. Guy comments that he’s even met Selig, the contact there. They make plans to visit first thing in the morning.

After regrouping at their hotel, the team reviews their plans for the next day. In addition to CJH Investments, Nasir has a meeting with Arkady Shevlenko. Then Robin discovers Anton has reached out them. The scumbag wants to trade information on the Conspiracy for protection. They sit on that intelligence for now.

That morning they enter CJH Investments shortly after it opens. Spotting a nervous woman in the lobby, they guess she’s the one that they want. Nasir and John convince her that they want to help and can be trusted. She reveals she is a CIA agent named Lynne Feinberg, that her operation was blown and that she’ll talk more after her meeting. But the team gets their meeting first. Selig after ascertaining that John is part of the DOD, reveals that Lynne’s operation was not sanctioned. she’s been burned by Langley.

With that revelation, Lynne puts her hopes and trust with the team. without Shevlenko she has no chance of being reinstated and without help she might not last the night. She tells them that their leader Charlie Green had originally looked at grabbing Shevlenko at the opera on the last night of the conference. They have a safe house outside of the city from which they planned to escape the country. Lynne’s job was to get his granddaughter Anna to America. She has plane tickets and passport. The girl is supposed to arrive that afternoon.

The agents agree to help and split into two teams. Robin and Nasir will deal with Shevlenko. the others will join Lynne in intercepting Anna at the airport.

As they leave the building the team notice several local toughs tailing them. They duck into a shop and Nasir quickly disguises them. As they slip away, the master of disguise bumps into the leader of this gang and lifts his phone.

A quick scan reveals that they were sent by the Lisky Bratva. Someone named Werner has been complaining about “Simon is hungry” and the need for a fresh shipment from Odessa. In the chat, he wishes Uncle Joe or even creepy Dorjiev was here to handle Simon. also on the phone they find a landline for an apartment block in the redlight district. Robin scouts it out before the meeting. The brothel is a fortress and capable of keeping all sorts of things in the bricked up basement.

Nasir and Robin meet with Shevlenko at 2 PM. Recalling their earlier meeting, Nasir conducts most of the conversation in Arabic under the guise of needing to use more technical terms. Shevlenko somewhat more at ease hints that there might be eavesdropping, referencing a lamp. Robin picks up the cues and turns on a jamming device.

Once able to speak freely, Shevlenko instantly warms to the idea of a second escape attempt provided his granddaughter is protected. Nasir says they’ve got it covered. Shevlenko explains he knows the Conspiracy’s plans, plans told to him by Kim Philby before his death. Kim also gave him an amulet that thus far has kept them at bay. Its power is fading however and he fears the monsters plan to get his secrets by force. Nasir outlines their plan to extract him at the opera and then tries to slip him a burner phone. As it tumbles to the floor, he covers up the slip up and in the process of picking it up, slips it into the old man’s pocket. With Shevlenko’s promise of intelligence once rescued, they move to the next step of their plans.

At airport, the team notices several thugs lurking by the baggage claim. They also note Shevlenko’s assistant, Zhenya Mihaylov, making his way to Anna’s gate. After some quick discussion, they decide to ambush her in the baggage area. Scarlett hacks the airport computers and flags the thugs as suspicious individuals. As airport security herd them away, Anna arrives with Zhenya. Lynne and Scarlett intercept them and convince Anna that they are really here to help her. Lynne presses the tickets and passport into her hand as Zhenya begins to raise a fuss.

Meanwhile security begins to move in on John, recognizing him from reports in Zurich. He quickly collects the others. Before disappearing into a crowd of German tourists, Scarlet presses a burner phone into anna’s hand and pushes her back to security. With Anna safe they escape the airport.

That night they decide to set up a meet with Anton. While Guy and Scarlett work on an aerosol dispersal system for antibiotics, Robin rigs a local cafe with cameras and bugs. Then she messages Anton, giving him the meet site. He gives a counter offer but she replies, “Nice knowing you.” Hurriedly he agrees to the location but she gives no sign back.

The next day Robin waits in the back of a store a few blocks away, ready to pursue on foot. She watches the electronic feeds from there. John and Guy wait in a car a block in the other direction. Scarlet works remotely from their crummy hotel. Nasir meanwhile continues to attend the conference.

As Anton arrives, they easily spot the thugs, as well as the Russian prison tattoos hidden beneath coats and long sleeves. They shadow Anton closely who looks sickly and dying. Scarlet notes the marks on his wrists and the makeup covering bruises on his face. Anton waits an hour, growing more and more anxious with each minute. When a pair of men come to collect him, his shoulders slump as he accepts his fate. They escort him to a car.

As Guy moves after him, a shot rings out. The sniper round cracks the windshield and hits John next to his heart. Only the kevlar keeps the damage to cracked ribs. Guy goes evasive and tears out of there as another shot shatters the back window.

Robin meanwhile flags a cab and trails Anton, at least until it’s obvious that he is headed for the red light district and the Bratva’s brothel/fortress.

That night Nasir’s cover is burnt when the police discover a kilo of heroin in his hotel room.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.