Night’s Black Agents, Session Two

The agents decided they wanted to know where their turncoat contact was getting his orders. All Toby could tell them was that the commands came from the bluetooth earpiece he’d been wearing. They still had it, so Elena did her thing and found out that the earpiece was set to pick up a non standard frequency. She decided to set up an array of burner cell phones, all programmed to pick up the frequency and dropped at various locations throughout the city, and used them to triangulate the source of the signal. Nobody else did much during the day – they all just laid low in the safe house and waited for word to come back. If they were being targeted they wanted to play it low and slow. Luckily for them, the contact I picked (Vic), didn’t end up turned. In fact, they were very lucky. Vic only had two points in his pool, and I rolled a one. Maybe next session…

Word comes back from Barney’s contact, Reese, who was analyzing Toby’s blood samples at the lab. Turns out Toby has certain toxins in his blood stream that are markers for parasitic infection, though there were no parasites present in the blood samples themselves. Without having one to look at Reese couldn’t say what species it is. There was also a virus present in the blood, one the lab wasn’t able to identify. Since Barney had only said the samples were from a patient, Reese offers to call the CDC for help identifying the virus. Barney talks him out of it, but Reese says he’ll keep the blood samples frozen in the lab in case they’re needed later.

Armed with this new knowledge, Barney decides to take Toby to a hospital for a closer look. Barney uses a cover identity as Dr. Bill Reynor to enter the hospital late at night, and Quin comes along as Chet Walters, a highway patrolman, which allows him to both take Toby in handcuffed and also wear a gun without worrying about it being noticed. Both covers work perfectly, and the two have some hospital space to themselves. It takes the entire night to do a full set of tests on Toby, and in the end Barney finds the parasites – they’re in Toby’s brain. He knows of parasites that are able to alter the behavior of their hosts, and absent any other drugs from the blood sample analysis he starts to get a bad feeling that somebody’s engineered one to work on humans. Before they leave the hospital Barney grabs a bunch of broad spectrum anti-parasiticals to try and treat Toby.

Meanwhile, Elena hears back from her contact in North Dakota, “Frank81”. He gets her the surveillance footage, but there’s not much to see. The quality is crap, and their suspect seems to stay mostly out of sight. Frank81 also notes that he’s seen the guy around from time to time, but not since the message was sent to the agents. Unless they want to pack up and go to North Dakota, it looks like a dead end.

At this point in the game bogs down a little and things start to careen off in some rather wild directions. Rather than check out the gangs that I’d set up as leads in the last session, the group starts to do odd things like dig deeper into their parent conspiracy, including “Mr. Grey”, the guy who recruited all of them. So I let them use their investigative skills to dig up some information (I’m not the kind of GM who just says no – if the players want to do something I let them and adapt, or gently nudge them back in the right direction). They find out not much about the conspiracy aside from the fact that it’s cell-based, which they already knew. They did find out Mr Grey is really Carl Weller, a reclusive rich guy who donates to various charities, political candidates and PACs across party lines, and seems to have ties to the intelligence community, though they can’t say for sure who or where. They try to figure out where he’s at, but I pointedly let them know that he has multiple places of residence in multiple countries, and nobody’s really sure where he is at any given moment. There is no “Weller Industries” either, all his money seems to come from a tangled web of shell companies and offshore accounts. At this point they seem to be angling for a jump way up to the top of the ladder, skipping their immediate troubles and going to “the boss” to find out what’s going on. They research which charities he donated to recently and if any of them are having any big events he would likely show up to. Sure, there’s on in Boston a week from now.

Unwilling to wait a week, the group finally relents and starts looking at more immediate concerns. To see just how compromised their conspiracy is they put out a fake message saying they survived an attack and have important information about who’s after them. They request a meet with someone higher up the food chain, in person. While they wait for that to resolve into something interesting they decide to chase down the signal that Elena triangulated.

Turns out it’s being broadcast from the top of a two story building near the docks. Thanks to public records they know the bottom floor is filled with a real estate company and a shipping company’s offices, the top floor is currently empty. There’s also a nice big antenna on the roof. The agents do a little surveillance and note that there are closed circuit security cameras covering every angle. Since that would make any night time approach a little trickier, they opt for a broad daylight operation. Using disguise, they make themselves up to be a painting crew and walk right in the front door. Quin plays lookout in a stolen van he made up to look like it’s from a fictitious painting company. Barney stays at the safehouse with Toby, monitoring his condition. The agents head up the stairs, as if they’re renovating the empty offices up there, but go all the way to the roof. Nobody on the first floor pays them any notice.

Once on the roof a little architectural knowledge lets them know which office the feed to the antenna comes from. A helpfully labelled junction box tells them it’s coming from the one used by the shipping company, Trans Global Shipping. Elena installs a remote controlled device in the junction box that will cut the feed to the antenna, so if they run into somebody else with an earpiece they can just cut the signal at the source.

On the street below, Quin gets made. The tattooed Russian gangster he nearly ran over at the warehouse ambush walks around the corner and heads to the building the agents are in. It’s obvious he sees the van, and whether he recognizes Quin or just knows a stakeout when he sees one, the cat is out of the bag. Quin lets the group know and then leaves, heading around the block as casually as possible. The agents abandon their more bulky items – ladders and tarps, etc – and leave. They don’t run into anyone on the way out, but Elena does stop to plant a surveillance camera (via preparedness) across the street, pointed roughly at the front of the building.

That night, the agents monitor the camera feed at the safehouse while Quin and Donald sit in a generic sedan (courtesy of Quin’s gone in sixty seconds skillset) across the street from the building. They watch a rented moving truck pull up, and under the direction of the tattooed Russian a group of men begin loading computer and other equipment. They know they’ve been made, so they’re moving shop. Quin makes his surveillance roll and follows the truck to a fairly nondescript storage facility. There it unloads the equipment and leaves. They follow the Russian to a high-rise building downtown, a building also owned by Trans Global Shipping. But the Russian and his helpers go inside via a locked door, and Donald and Quin opt not to break in to follow.

Knowing that they’ve just found a treasure trove of potential intelligence, the agents called Elena and Gwen in to assist before it can be moved. Breaking into the storage unit, Elena’s knowledge of computers and electronics allowed them to quickly remove hard drives and other data storage devices. On their way out, Elena left a message on a forum for local Seattle ne’er-do-wells letting them know there was an open storage unit with electronics in it. With any luck that would sow a little confusion.

While the rest of the agents are gone, Barney runs into trouble. After roughly 24 hours of anti-parasitical treatment, Toby goes into cardiac arrest. Despite Barney’s efforts, he succumbs and dies.

Once the others return, Elena digs into Trans Global Shipping and finds it’s owned by a wealthy Russian named Victor Malekov, and that it has some questionable ties to an international aide organization (which I’ve somewhat sarcastically named Bleeding Heart International until I can come up with a better name).

Next session: An autopsy on Toby, dealing with the tattooed Russian, and a response to the bait message. Also, Gwen hopes to shoot something. Possibly the tattooed Russian.

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