Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rocketman and the Terror of Oyster Bay

London. 1st March. 1937.

A phone rings in a busy office and a young woman reaches across the desk to answer it.
“London Office. Extension 99.”
“This is Travis speaking. Emergency code seven.”
The girl bites her lip and reaches for a small black book. She cradles the telephone receiver against her shoulder and thumbs through the pages.
“Mother Goose is on the mere” she reads.
“The water is deep and dark” the voice replies. “Put me through to M”

Sir Hugh Sinclair listens to the voice on the telephone, but does not speak. Even when he has heard the disturbing message he simply replaces the receiver and sits for several long minutes in silence. Finally, he reaches down into a drawer and produces a manila folder and a bottle of whiskey. Pouring himself a modest glass, he opens the folder and quickly reads for a few minutes. Then, having drained his drink he walks across the room to regard a large map of the Caribbean which is spread across a wall. His eyes follow the outline of Florida and then he picks out a small red thumb tack from a tray and stabs it gently into Oyster Bay. He regards the map for a moment then returns to his desk. He presses the button on his intercom.
“Miss Parker. Connect me to Meteor.”

At RAF Brookehurst, it is a grey and rainy day and the aerodrome is quiet. Only a few aircraft stand dismally in the drizzle, their cockpits and engine cowlings covered with tarpaulins. Each of the line of hangers is closed, except for the last where several officers stand around a Hawker Hurricane watching as its engine is delicately removed. An orderly approaches the group and passes a slip of paper to the only man not in uniform. He reads the message then quickly makes his way to a small office where a telephone lays waiting.
“Mansfield” he says.
“Daniel. We have a problem” the serious tone in Sir Hugh’s voice is unmistakable.
“Go ahead sir”
“Do you remember Wokinghouse? He worked with you at Meteor for a while.”
“Yes. Professor Summer’s old colleague. I remember him.”
“He’s just gone missing over Florida”
“Over Florida Sir?”
“He was headed for New Orleans on an American Airlines flight, but the plane went missing over the Everglades. The last radio check put them some where over Oyster Bay. The Americans are already looking for the wreck, but I’m sending you over to search independently. Something strange is going on and I don’t trust the Americans”
Mansfield frowns. “Strange Sir? How so?”
“Wokinghouse had recently been approached by a third party whom we have been keeping an eye on. Have you by any chance heard tell of the Alligator Cult?”
“Never.”
“They are a small group who follow a very obscure religion. They appear to worship an alligator deity and are mostly found in Southern Florida. We became aware of them when we uncovered the South American connection to the Brotherhood of the Black Cross...”
“Moros!”
“Moros was connected also, but in a different direction. No, the Alligator Cult appear to be a seperate organisation altogether. They were mentioned in some of the papers we recovered, mostly as the recipients of payments made by one of the front companies which served the Brotherhood’s interests. We were never able to uncover what the Alligator Cult were doing in return for the money they were receiving, but when Wokinghouse became the object of their interests, we sent an agent to investigate. Unfortunately, Wokinghouse and the aircraft he was on, went missing before our man could get to him so I’m sending you and your crew to investigate.”
“What of this agent? Do we rendezvous with him?”
“No. He is too valuable to expose by direct contact. Thats your job. I want you to find Wokinghouse if by some chance he should still be alive, but more importantly I want you to find and destroy what ever operation the Alligator Cult are running for Baron Schöenberg.”
“Very good Sir. I’ll assemble my men at once.”

In his London office, Sinclair nods to himself. “Thank you Daniel. We’ll have a flying boat ready for you at Southampton from 0700 hours, and I’ll wire the particulars to you there.”
He listens to the reply then turns to the man oppoiste him as he puts down the telephone receiver.
“What is on your mind?” he askes the other man.
“You didn’t mention the Kingpin. Mansfield mustn’t be left in the dark”
“Don’t worry. I shall include a full briefing” Sinclair replies. The other man narrows his eyes slightly.
“...and will you tell Mansfield what happened to Carter?”
Sinclair opens the manila folder which lays on his desk. He glances at the conclusion, running his eyes across the words, ‘ritually disembowelled’.
“Yes, but I think perhaps we’ll gloss over some of the more disturbing details...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Azores. 2nd March.
“Wake Mitchell up” Mansfield shouts as he enters the cluttered cabin. George Macarthur opens a heavy eye and peers across at the snoring Texan.
“With pleasure” he says. “I’ve never known any one who could snore louder than the drone of a four engined aircraft!”
Daniel Mansfield regards the men assembled in the cabin. Several are old friends, proven trust worthy, others are new companions. He waits until Mitchell is awake and has taken a long pull from a hip flask before holding up a telegram.
“Okay chaps, here’s the juice, but first let me introduce our recent arrivals...”
Mitchell glances over his shoulder in surprise.
“God damn, did I sleep past the Azores?”
Mansfield smiles and nods then turns his attention to a pair of large ginger haired men.
“Most of you know Hamish and Dougal, they’ve been attached to Meteor by HQ. Their job will be to provide some extra muscle, and they’ve been issued with similar equipment to me, though without the rockets of course.”
The two taciturn Scots acknowledge this introduction with the barest of nods and all eyes now turned to the large dark haired man seated across the aisle from Marcel Messnier.
“Ben Campbell is our tracker. He’s from Canada so he’s used to working far from civilisation!”
“I’m also pretty handy with my automatics!” Ben quips as a ripple of laughter passes through the assembled men.
“Quite so” Mansfield replies, “and they’ll come in handy no doubt! Next along we have my old pal from the RAF, Arthur Spencer and beside him Mister Smith from the Ministry. Mister Smith is an expert on explosives, special weapons and demolitions I believe...”
Smith closes both eyes and nods.
“What about the dame?” Mitchell interupts, and all now turn to regard a slender blonde woman who is seated by the door to the cockpit.
“Surely Joe you remember Vesper!?”
Mitchell looks confused for a moment then grins. “Hell, you mean the girl from Wangai’s ship!”
“The very same”
“But weren’t there two of them? Wheres the other one?”
Vesper turns to regard her fellow passengers. For a moment her eyes rest upon each in turn before she finally reaches to Daniel Mansfield. She smiles sardonically and raises an eye brow.
“Vesper has agreed to accompany us whilst her sister is... on holiday” Daniel explains.
The men glance at each other, unsure what exactly this means. Mitchell shrugs and looks to his friend.
“So spill the beans Danny boy, whats the game?”
Mansfield grins. “Nothing dull I assure you. We’re headed for Florida to tackle a dastardly crew of mad cultists who have snatched Professor Wokinghouse!”
George gasps but Mitchell looks blank. “Professor who?”
“Wokinghouse” Daniel explains. “He was with us in the early days of Project Meteor, and after old man Summers I’d say he was the best man in rocketry we have.”
“He could probably give Professor Summers a run for his money too” George adds. “Whats this cult you mentioned?”
“The Cult of the Alligator. Ever hear of them Joe?”
Mitchell sticks out his lower lip and shakes his head.
“According to MI6 they’re a small outfit, gathered around a mysterious leader who goes by the name of the Kingpin. In the past they’re known to have had connections with the Brotherhood of the Black Cross, but the nature of the relationship is obscure. The Alligator Cult were supplying something to the Brotherhood in return for considerable payments, but we don’t yet know what. Our mission is to go in, find Wokinghouse if we can, but even if we can’t, we’re to destroy the cult once and for all.
“Excuse me Daniel” Marcel Messnier speaks up, “but are you suggesting we kill them? On American soil? Won’t that make the Americans angry?”
“Not this American!” Mitchell laughs.
“We must take all the necessary precautions to avoid a diplomatic scandal with the United States, but the Alligator Cult, which I understand will not be missed by Washington, is to be eliminated.”
“Will we have any local help?” George asks.
“Not this time I’m afraid. The Americans would never assist us if they knew what we were going to do, but rest assured gentlemen... and lady, the Alligator Cult has been declared an enemy of the British Crown and this is a legal operation as sanctioned by His Majesty’s Laws of Secret Warfare.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Oyster Bay 3rd March. 1937.

The sun sets slowly, setting the sky a-fire over the Florida swamp lands and from the sodden mud flats comes the croaking bark of the alligators and the constant drone of insects. Soon darkness reigns over the bay, and lights begin to show from the small settlement which is the only human habitation for miles around. Several figures congregate around a large fishing boat which is moored to an old rotting jetty. Three struggling figures in muddy clothes, two men and a woman, are pulled from the cabin and then dragged ashore, their protests sounding thin and desperate in the warm air. “Help!” one cries in vain to the people standing on the shore, “Some one for God’s sake help us!”.
A figure in cowled robes approaches from a building and the struggling trio pull away when they see what the new comer is carrying. It is a human head! The woman screams and faints.
“My God!” one man cries in fear. “Its the pilot!”.
“You’ll pay for this you fiends!” the other shouts.
“AG-LATA!” the robed man shouts.
“Ag-lata...” the onlookers begin to chant; “Ag-lata... Ag-lata..”
“Oh my God!” the first man cries out again as several more cowled figures, All bearing weapons, emerge from the buildings to stand on either side of their leader.
“YOU!” the man holding the severed head shouts. “YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO DIE FOR AG-LATA!”
“Your all mad!” the first man shouts back at them. He struggles against his captors but they hold him easily. Suddenly there is an awful silence as another cowled figure emerges from a door way. Both men stare in horror as they realise this figure is wearing a flame thrower.
“No!” the first man cries as the terrifying weapon is carried closer. “You can’t do this!”
“YOU WILL BURN IN AL-GATA’S PURIFYING FIRE!” Laughs the leader of the cowled men...

“Not if I can help it!” Rocketman mutters as he raises his submachine gun


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


PLAYER ONE: OLEG
Rocketman. Ben Campbell. Dougal. Hamish. Vesper. (Hostages if freed)

PLAYER TWO: PALLE
‘Mad Dog’ Mitchell. George Macarthur. Marcel Messnier. Arthur Spencer. Mr Smith.

PLAYER THREE: GOEG
Cultist leader. 5 x Cultists with small arms. Cultist with flame thrower. 2 x Armoured cultists.

PLAYER FOUR: JAN
The Scrap Yard Merchant. 7 x Strange civilians. Fishing boat skipper.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Starting

The game for players one and two begins at the point where the prisoners are being taken from the boat. Starting from across the road, players one and two have four ‘free rounds’ to sneak closer to the cultists. In order to do this, players one and two must move, stealthed and undetected by the cultists and local civilians. For the first four rounds, the consequence of being detected (faiig a stealth vs perception roll) is a loss of movement. In other words, the detected element remains hidden, but may not move.

Players three and four start with all their elements in the western half of the table. Player three may position his armoured cultists as sentries.


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Map


The roads are Good. Every where else on the table top is Rough, except in the Scrap Yard, and in the building interiors which are Difficult. The water is Impassable.


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Victory conditions

Either side wins automatically by defeating two thirds of the opposing side.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Special rules

Rocketman has two Hero Points in this game.

Any element attempting stealthed movement inside the scrap yard is hampered by all the junk lying around and suffers a -1 penalty.

Piles of junk and old cars give a +2 advantage against enemy fire. Wooden balconies, fences (its old wood) give +1, as does the sides of the fishing boat.

The two buildings closest to the road are houses, the southern of the two being older and in poor condition. It also has a small workshop to the west of the main building. Next along the cul-de-sac is a commecial building of some kind, possibly a decaying storage facility. Across from it is a storage shed for the fishing boat, and standing on the water, next to the jetty, is an abandoned house.

The fishing boat is moored, but has its engine still running.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Conclusion

This game was played on Wednesday 19th October. 2011.
Players were Jan, Oleg and Palle.


The game began with Rocketman and his companions in the trees on the east side of the main road watching as events unfurled. Oleg played Rocketman and Palle played Mitchell’s team. As the cultists began their monotonous chanting, the British agents began to move closer under the cover of darkness. Only Rocketman, encumbered by his heavy rockets was unable to successfully sneak into an advantageous position. Mitchell and Messnier moved quickly into the first house which they found lit by electric light though empty. A wireless was playing music. Dougal, Hamish, Ben Campbell and Vesper moved closer to the second house then around it. The two dour Scots took up firing positions to the front of the building, whilst Ben Campbell broke in through the front door. Vesper made her way around the back.

Mitchell and his team were soon in position to provide covering fire, and as the cultist with the flame thrower stepped forward, Mr Smith set up his suitcase mortar. ”You will burn in Al-Gata’s purifying fire!” screamed the cultist leader, upon which, the British agents opened fire. This opening salvo proved to be very efficient, as both opposing player’s generals were subsequently eliminated. (I don’t think we’ve ever seen that before! Since Goeg was ill and had had to bail, Jan was running all the cultists). The cultists were quite slow to react when the first mortar round went off in their midst, but they began to move to cover, and apparently forgot all about their hostages.


As both sides began firing at each other, Ben Johnson entered the ground floor of the second house where he found an unusual machine humming gently to itself. At first he wasn’t sure of what it was, but then as he drew nearer he saw it had a plaque on the front, with German writing, and gauges showing amps and voltage and he realised it was an electrical generator of some advanced design.

As the fire fight erupted, one particular cultist turned and ran towards the fishing boat. This individual did not waste any time and sprinted for the cabin. As he did, Mr Smith dropped a mortar round onto the fishing boat, but to no avail and the fishing boat skipper scrambled to untie the vessel from the jetty.


The cultists and the local civilians, who had been standing around watching, seemed to be acting strangely, as if they were in a state of shock, or under the influence of a drug. They moved slowly, seemed hesitant to engage obvious targets, and yet had enough purpose to engage in hand to hand fighting. Two of the cultists were tougher than the rest. They were wearing some form of body armour and despite taking a lot of fire; it was only when Mr Smith turned his mortar on them that they eventually died.

Rocketman in the meanwhile had taken to the sky, and flying in a wide arc he came around to land in the midst of the cultists and their affiliated civilians, who were gathered around the large shed. The cultists failed to engage him as he came in to land, some even stared in dull incomprehension, but once he had landed, they attacked him as best as they could but with little avail. Mansfield used his submachine on the first then knocked the others down with a serious of heavy punches and it was during this exchange that he notice that none of the cultists or civilians bled when shot.


In the meanwhile, Vesper moved to the south, along the back of the second house and its attached workshop. Here she found nothing of interest, so she moved stealthily through the undergrowth to the commercial building.

The fire fight between the cultists and the British agents culminated with the mortar strikes on the armoured cultists and Vesper taking control of the rear entrance to the commercial building. By this time, only two cultists remained and they were hiding in the front room of the commercial building, with the flame thrower. Rocketman sprayed the building with SMG fire, but the heavy timber construction defied his best attempts. Vesper entered the commercial building from the rear and was amazed to discover a large aubergine-like plant growing from the remains of several dead bodies. Careful not to get too close to this monstrosity she sneaked through the building to the front room, but realising that if she shot she might cause the flame thrower to explode, she retreated back outside.


Mr Smith then dropped his last mortar round through the roof and the explosion from the mortar round caused the flame to detonate. There was nothing left of the last two cultists after that. The British agents realised that not only had they killed every single cultist (save the two who had gotten away on the fishing boat), but they had rescued the hostages and had not suffered a single casualty!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

6 comments:

Mansfield said...

That part was too easy, and I've got a bad feeling that it isn't over.
The Cultists were slow to react, and... unimaginative, though tough to overcome.
They let the hostages get away.
We were lucky.

We, on the other hand, let the boat get away.
Mr Smith, unfortunately, used far to many of his mortar rounds.

Tervlon said...

I suspect that Al-Gata is still hungry, the heroes may have gotten through this mission unscathed but the campaign will surely scorch even the hairs on their heroic heads. Plus, Smith used too many mortar rounds. He can't have many left. :)

Well done. Here is hoping we see another chapter soon.

moif said...

In point of fact, he has none left!

Oleg said...

I think Palle reckons he has 1 left.

moif said...

He had five rounds. He used the first in the initial attack when he killed the cultist leader. Then he used the second against the fishing boat. The third and the fourth were used to kill the two armoured cultists and as far as I remember, the last was used against the guy with the flamethrower.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

It was NOT the last mortar round that killed those two, nor did I fire it, it was RM's smg-fire. He fired while I was aiming the mortar.