A Walk in the Shadows

Quinn's After Action Report - London
Operation: Albion

MEMORANDUM FOR JASON SHAW

FROM: Oliver Quinn

DATE: December 21, 2016

SUBJECT: Edom connections

OPERATION: Albion

TEAM: IMF Alpha Team

DEPLOYED LOCATION: London, England

After meeting with our handler Jason Shaw, we had proceeded to a safe house for the IMF organization. Not the International Fund, but an intelligence agency dating back to the 19th century. Jason explained that their mandate was to eliminate the threat of vampirism from the world, and that they had evolved along similar lines to Edom but were opposed to their use of Dracula as an asset, tracing their lineage back to Abraham Van Helsing himself.

Felix was immediately interested in their level of support and asset availability, but Jason painted a sad tale about the organization that had reached it’s heyday in the 1960’s when they apparently used the cover of the television series “Mission Impossible” as a plausible cover story for their activities. They had a number of connections in the entertainment industry at the time, so this seemed to them to be a spread disinformation about their existence and goals. Unfortunately, it seems that this black agency ran afoul of the excesses of the 1980’s, and was almost completely mothballed in the 90’s, losing their funding and most of their assets. Jason had just come aboard at the time, and elected to stay on and “keep the lights on” as they say.

He further explained what he knew about the vampire threat and Dracula, which was sketchy at best. The only solid piece of evidence they had was an old portrait of Dracula, which confirmed our earlier suspicions on his identity. We had met him previously in our training mission at Sprechenhaltestelle in 2014. At the time he was playing the role of one of the missing energy technicians Alexei Petrov. Jason stopped us at this point, however, and went on to explain that he had specifically assigned that agent the role and had based his identity mask on the portrait of Dracula, being that no other means existed that could capture his visage. Apparently, the identity mask technology in the Mission Impossible series actually existed and worked? It was a double down on his part to associate his face with our training and simultaneously assess if we had previous dealings with Dracula and were attempting to infiltrate the IMF. It seemed a bit of a stretch to me, but Shaw had always had a bit of a theatrical streak.

Shaw concluded his soliloquy by explaining that we were now the latest recruits for the IMF. In fact, along with Shaw, we were the entirety of the IMF. Shaw stated he had financial resources and some business contacts, but that our personal assets, network, and contacts were all that we had on the intelligence side of things. Not the best footing on which to base operations, but not the worst I’ve experienced either.

We were at a standstill as how to proceed, and after much discussion decided to focus on the Edom assets within MI6. Lee used his backdoor access into MI6 and was able to trace a recent phone call to one of the Dukes of Edom we had previously identified from the records on the H.M.S. Prosperine, one Hound by name. The loss of their secure satellite network from the rig had made their activities that much easier to follow, so a win for us.

A meet was scheduled to go down between Hound and “Him” in two days at the historic London Bridge after midnight in two days. We decided to crash that party, and made plans to be in place to observe and identify the targets involved.

The night of the meet, we were entrenched on either end of the bridge. Felix was in an unmarked panel truck, as were Lee and I who was running his monitoring equipment. Just after midnight, a man and a woman appeared on opposite ends and moved towards the middle. Assuming that the man was in fact, Dracula, we could only surmise that the woman was the one known as Hound. Lee was able to record her side of the meet, but as seems to be the case when dealing with a vampire, he was unable to capture video or audio of the man. The (one-sided) discussion seemed to center around us, and whether or not we were working for Edom?

London Bridge meet:
londonbridgeatnight.jpg



Hound:
Hound1.jpg

After the meet ended, we decided to follow Hound and interrogate her. In retrospect, this was a poor choice. We tailed her back over to the north side of the bridge and joined back up with Felix and continued to follow her, but it seems she made us. Halfway down a street, a large black BWM came flying out of an alley and t-boned us. We could make out the driver through the shattered glass, as he pulled a pistol and began shooting at us. He was a decent driver, I’ll give him that. I quickly moved to counter him, sideswiping his car as he reversed down the alley and Felix returned fire. Lee apparently was pinned under a bunch of wires and tools in the back of the truck and was no help at all.

Felix shot out the driver’s tires and he crashed into a wall as he continued back down the alley, and I slammed our van into the car side as he flung himself out of the opposite door, still firing at us. I pivoted around the car and clipped him with our bumper, knocking him out. We loaded him up and were preparing to leave when a slew of police cars appeared in the road and alley, obviously headed towards us. Of Hound, there was no sign. She had set us up, well and good.

We were definitely pinned in, so decided to run for it on foot, heading into a nearby office building with the unconscious driver over Lee’s shoulders. Felix dropped a previously prepared tear gas grenade in our wake, and we quickly moved through the borough, avoiding the police presence and the ever-watchful London camera system, making our way back to our safehouse, where we interrogated our captive.

Felix, being the master interrogator that he is, soon got him to talk. He was a Duke of Edom known an Ian, and we soon found out that Edom was hot on our trail, especially after we destroyed their lab sites in Germany and on the oil rig. They were indeed attempting to “build” their own vampire super-soldier, based off of the inert blood of Dracula’s vampiric minions, as they had been unable to convince Dracula to contribute directly to their cause. It seems they were keeping him in the dark as to their intentions also.

Ian:
Ian1.jpg



It also seems that Edom had turned up the heat on us, as the local news station interrupted their broadcast to show pictures of the three of us, saying we had committed acts of terrorist and were armed and at large in the city of London…

Our plans now turned around tracking Dracula and his minions, and Felix discussed building a device to track the Earth’s telluric currents and possibly identify or follow the vampires by their interactions with them, but we didn’t have the engineering knowledge to know where to start.

Then Lee found this gem on the internet: North Korean Volcano Provides Rare Chance For Scientific Collaboration

It looked like we were headed to the States.

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DuBois' After Action Report - London
Operation: Albion

Taken from a voice recording:

After the events that occurred on the HMS Prosperine, we regrouped in London and I immediately set to the task of analyzing the blue serum that we recovered from the laboratory on the oil rig. Luckily, I was able to use my medical credentials and had Lee pull a few strings to get me access to the hardware I required, and was able to run some tests. The results were less than satisfactory, however, as the material in question was quite beyond my ability to thoroughly decipher.

There was a unique bacterium suspended the serum. While structurally similar to most terrestrial bacteria, I was able to determine that this particular strain was of unknown origin. Unlike other life on this planet, which is based on carbon molecules, this bacterium contains no guanine, adenine, or thymine. While cystosine appears to be present in it’s DNA, the other bases appear analogous to normal pairs but are missing carbon molecules. Instead, these new bases have a copper component, which should not support life in any known way. Yet, I am faced with irrefutable evidence that this is so.

Merde!

I don’t even know where to begin. I could get a Nobel prize for this discovery, if it wasn’t somehow wrapped up in this whole vampire conspiracy that’s trying to kill us.

Alright. On to what we can know at this point.

The bacteria seems to emit a curiously strong electromagnetic field. Over time this field seems to sync itself with local EM fields and builds a symbiotic relationship with it, exerting some level of awareness and even possible interaction with those fields. I can only theorize that this effect increases in proportion to the amount of bacteria in a host. As the only specimens in the serum that we recovered were inert, dead, material, this is only a theory. However, I did notice some peculiar visual anomalies over the course of the week I studied this organism, which makes sense as our sight is dependent on “seeing” a range of the EM spectrum. If this organism can disrupt the EM spectrum sufficiently, it could affect visual or even aural acuity. This would help explain the phenomenon of “invisibility” that what we are calling vampires exhibit.

This may also explain the strange hypnotic effect we experienced in St. Paul’s cathedral, though how a human host can tap into and collectively control these electromagnetic fields to create and manipulate our senses is beyond my current ability to explain.

The bacteria also exhibit strong regenerative powers, even in a “dead” state as they are in the serum. Their ability to revive depends on the presence of blood, which seems to fuel their abilities, thus explaining the blood-thirst of vampiric legend. Otherwise, the bacteria is remarkably resilient and strong.

Since we are dealing with what seems to be the origin of the vampire legend, Quinn insisted that I investigate the use of alleged vampire banes as well.

Waving a crucifix at the bacteria did not seem to do anything. Nor did holy water when mixed in solution. Although we are using the unredacted Dracula dossier as a reference, these did not seem to work as Harker reported.

Garlic was another story. When introduced into solution with the bacteria, it seems to inhibit it’s ability to absorb nutrients and even disrupts it’s connect to local EM fields.

I also noticed that the bacteria develops a familiarity with local EM fields over time, and when it is exposed to another strong field in succession, that initial connection has to rebuild over time. Anything that blocks EM fields also strongly inhibits the abilities of the bacteria, so a Faraday cage or large volume of water would effectively cut off the bacteria from those sources. If the bacteria interacts with the ""telluric currents":https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telluriccurrent" present in the earth, this also leads me to speculate that foreign EM fields would present problems for the bacteria, although our current supply of extraterrestrial minerals is woefully nonexistent. Another side effect of these currents is that they are diurnal and are affected by the strength of the sun. This may account for the vampire legends that they are nocturnal creatures, as there would likely be strong interference during the day that impacts their connection to those currents. _

Finally, when exposed to a strong ultraviolet light, the bacteria clearly reacts. It seems to migrate away from that exposure, although it doesn’t appear to do significant damage. How this UV light would affect an infected individual is unknown, but it does appear to have some potential as a deterrent.

In conclusion, we are dealing with an organism that is clearly of extraterrestrial origin. How this bacteria came to Earth is speculation, but we can assume that this is the genesis of the vampire legend. Further speculation… if we assume that the dossier is indeed true, then Dracula may have been the genesis of the legend as we know it today. If he is indeed the same person as Vlad Tepes, who ruled Wallachia in the 15th century, we are dealing with a creature that has been alive for almost 600 years. If my theory of the interaction with and familiarity to EM fields holds true, it is impossible to know the true extent of this man’s… this creature’s… power.

< Recording ends >




After Action Report – DuBois, December 2016

After discussion we have decided to contact Jason Shaw once again. We cannot be 100% certain that he is not involved in this conspiracy, so we are attempting to lure him to a dead drop at a place of our choosing.

HMS Belfast:
HMS_Belfast_1_db.jpg


An old museum ship, the HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. The Belfast was the first Royal Navy ship to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland, and one of ten Town-class cruisers. Her construction began in December 1936 and she was launched on St Patrick’s Day in 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the World War II, the Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939, she struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst in December 1943. In June 1944m the Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

Few people know that HMS Belfast is one of only three remaining vessels from the bombardment fleet which supported the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. The other vessels are the destroyer USS Laffey, part of the historic ships grouped at Patriots Point, South Carolina, and the dreadnought battleship USS Texas at San Jacinto, Texas.

The HMS Belfast makes an effective Faraday cage, and our early recon showed that few people or attendants were around during these winter months. We chose a forward battery compartment for our meet, and added some additional anti-EM and monitoring support should we have any uninvited “guests.”

We set the meet time for 2:00 AM, and arrived at the ship for the last tour time, remaining on board after the ship had closed for the evening. We set up our watch on the bridge and waiting for Shaw to show.

Punctual as always, we saw a vehicle approach the dock around 1:55 AM. However, a second vehicle soon appeared, and pulled up next to Shaw as he exited his car. A figure emerged, and it was the same man who had accosted us at St. Paul’s Cathedral before we were kidnapped. He seemed to coerce Shaw into his car, and they drove off into the night. Lee was already at work tapping into the London camera system, and we set off in pursuit. We found Shaw’s cell phone on the dock where he clearly dropped it upon entering the car. Luckily for us, Shaw had been keeping fit, as his phone was tied into his Fitbit which was still active. He also had seemed to disappear off the grid earlier today in the vicinity of Highgate Cemetery in London, reappearing a few hours later in the same spot?

Meanwhile, our trace of the car with Shaw continued, and it appeared they were headed out of London to the south. We were barely able to keep pace, but it appeared that they were headed toward the town of Hellingly, and in fact seemed to be headed to the abandoned mental hospital there.

Hellingly Hospital:
Hellingly_hospital.jpg

It became clear that we had erred in our earlier suspicions of Shaw, and that he was now likely being interrogated by the Edom group, their Russian cronies, or worse. We quickly infiltrated the abandoned complex, and neutralized a couple of local heavies. Something clearly was going down here, and we made our way into the basement area. We quickly found the location where they had stashed Shaw, and were starting to work him over questioning him about our whereabouts. A few more local thugs and a big blonde bruiser – an Aussie from the sounds of it. It was close to dawn now, so we were counting on his abilities being lessened by that fact, if he was indeed one of the vampires.

Realizing that the vampire was the greatest threat we moved to neutralize him immediately, but although he took a number of rounds to the body, he did not go down or even flinch from the wounds. (Were we wrong about the currents?) Luckily, we were able to bring him down with concerted firepower and some paint ball rounds filled with garlic (Thanks to Quinn’s armory skills earlier in the day.)

We convinced the locals to scram, and led Shaw back to the car, only to be ambushed by that bastard from St. Paul’s. He tried to ambush us, but we caught him dead to rights and blasted him with garlic paint balls. As he moved to attack us, the UV lights started to affect his wounds, as they burned and his blood appeared to boil off under the beams. It clearly hurt him, although not to the extend we would have liked. He rushed Quinn, moving so fast we could barely register it, grabbing the old sod and throwing him like a rag doll. Quinn was flung a good 20 meters by this thing, and he landed hard and was still. I switched to armor-piercing rounds and popped off a number of rounds, hitting him squarely in the head. He dropped and lay unmoving, but we were taking no chances with this one, so we decapitated him before checking on the old man and Shaw. Quinn was barely conscious and definitely out of action for a while, but didn’t have any life-threatening injuries, so we gathered him up and headed out of town and back to London.

Shaw directed to to the Highgate Cemetery, and we arrived just before 8:00AM. He led us over the grounds to a gravesite.

Karl Marx’s grave:
Karl_Marx.jpg
Shaw took us around the back and opened a panel and a bloody secret door opened in the thing. Old rusted spiral stairs led down into what appeared to be an old-style British bunker. It looked like 70’s decor met 90’s technology down there.

And then Shaw turned to us, pointing at a nearby crest and said, “Welcome to the real IMF.”

IMF coat-of-arms:
IMF.jpg

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Lee's After Action Report - London
Operation: Dark Waters

Louis,

Here’s that crop report you wanted. I encrypted it in case Mr. Beeks tries to get a hold of it again.

- Billy Ray

Orange Juice Crop report:

=BEGIN SECURE TRANSMISSION==


After the events in Berlin, we decided to focus our attention on the MI6/Edom connection, if there was one. We flew into London and arranged for a meet with our handler, Jason Shaw, although we apparently were no longer a part of the UNAD or IMF or whatever group anymore. He had gained access to the MI6 firewall information, and would be passing that along to us for a ghost infiltration of their network.

In the meantime, I went ahead and hacked into their administrative system and discovered some strange anomalies. There was a surprising amount of information in their financials that definitely indicated that there was a group within MI6 that was operating at an even higher level of black than their regular ops. I couldn’t yet verify that this was the “Edom” group that we were hunting, but it seemed like a good place to start. I found records of a number of deliveries assigned to a location that didn’t seem to be on the books – an HMS Prosperine.

Here’s what Felix had to say about that.

Named for the queen of the underworld and consort of Pluto in Roman mythology, no such ship exists on the Royal Navy’s official rolls. The last HMS Proserpine was a Pelorus-class cruiser laid down in 1896. Built for independent patrols, the Proserpine served on the Caribbean station. Upon the cruiser’s return to home waters, it collided with a Dutch mail ship off Sheerness in 1901, and remained in the Chatham Dockyard until it was scrapped in 1919. The Admiralty transferred the name to a stone frigate: Lyness Naval Base in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. (The Royal Navy commissions its shore bases, or “stone frigates,” with ship names so that naval personnel remain subject to shipboard discipline while on base.) Lyness Naval Base was closed in 1957, and that ended the HMS Proserpine’s service. Officially.

We thought it unusual that there would be any expenditures for this, let alone pay checks still being drawn by a number of agents who were deceased – killed in action in Afghanistan and other locations. Not sure why dead guys would need to keep getting paid, so that seemed suspicious.

Looked into the shipping records, and all of this was taking place somewhere off the coast of Scotland. Did find records of an old oil rig that was mothballed in the area, so that seemed likely, but Oliver wanted to check out the old Lyness Naval Base anyways. Drove out to it and it was a total waste of time. Oil rig for sure.

By the time we got back to London we had a meet setup with Shaw for the next morning, so we headed there in the morning:

St. Paul’s Cathedral:
viator-exclusive-small-group-london-sightseeing-tour-including-guided-in-london-331327.jpg


London-St-Pauls-MAP.jpg


There was a dead drop in the south transcept near the crypt entrance, and we successfully recovered a flash drive, but spotted an asset actively surveilling us. We attempted to lose the tail, but he was apparently one of the super soldier types like our old friend Nikolai Limrovich, as he was suddenly in front of us. Somehow. And he hypnotized us. I realize how this sounds, but one second he was a 100 meters behind us, and then he’s in front of us and there was this electric sensation like thousands of bugs crawling on our skin and everything spun and we went down and were out and found ourselves in a metal room. We couldn’t tell where we were or how long we were out, but most of our items had been confiscated and outside of some water and snacks, we were in a featureless room like that old D&D module.

We discovered that there was another prisoner in the cell next to us – apparently an Al-Qaida terrorist named Akmed. He had been abducted in the field and had no idea where we were or what was happening.

Luckily, Oliver had a pencil of thermite stuck in his boot (WTF man?), and we were able to open the door in our room. We discovered that we were being held on an oil rig. Not sure if it was the same one we had suspected earlier, but what were the chances?

It was night and we had the advantage so started to reconnoiter the rig. Found our suppies and free Akmed. The enemy of our enemy and all that. He had been tortured for an indeterminate time and was apparently targeted for being AQ.

Ran into some resistance, but we had surprise on our side and were able to take out a number of guards without raising an alarm.

We found a number of disturbing elements as passed through the rig. First was an odd room furnished like a set from That 70’s Show and containing a coffin, like a bad Hammer film. It was legit with dirt inside. Even weirder was the fact that the entire room was rigged to drop into the ocean below. Yes, a submersible room. WTF?

Cue weird laboratory on the oil rig also. Found some samples of what appeared to be the blue stuff that the Winter Soldier was shooting up in his veins, so Felix took those with him. Interrogation rooms, check. Weird sick bay for apparently converting people into “vampires,” check. Two sets of explosives wired to bring down the whole complex like a Bond film, check.

Seriously, what was up with this place? Who would set this up to torture and experiment on people and then have a backup to kill everyone (crew included)?

We found the computer room and I was able to use the flashdrive to get into the files. (Thanks Shaw!). Found a list of Edom “Dukes” in a number of secure communications as follows:

  • Elvis
  • Fort
  • Hound
  • Ian
  • Nails
  • Oakes
  • Osprey
  • Pearl
  • Prince
  • Tinman
  • Tyler

They apparently reported to someone called “D” who had offices in the Ring and at Vauxhall Cross as he or she was the Director of the Section for Research Operations at MI6. Lee FTW!

Oliver scuttled the rig as we left.

HMS Prosperine (Persephone?):
hqdefault.jpg


oil_rig_22.jpg


=END SECURE TRANSMISSION====

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An Interlude...

After the shocking events in Ludwigshafen, Germany at the BASF plant, the team regrouped in their hotel rooms. There was much to discuss, but more importantly, Lee’s hack of the BASF VP, Martin Creasey, was still open and active. Lee immediately began to sift through the data, also noting that he still had control over the hardware itself, which included the built-in cameras and microphones.

The team crowded around Lee’s monitor as he toggled on the equipment. There were a number of BASF security moving in and out of the office, but then something peculiar happened. Creasey walked into the room, clearly having a conversation with someone else who was not in the room. Assuming it was a phone or secure transmission device, the team listened in on the conversation which seemed to revolve around their capture, escape, and subsequently how much they knew about “events.” Disturbingly, Martin was gesturing and reacting as if the person he were talking to was actually in the room himself. Like he was almost standing right next to him.

At the same time, DuBois was looking once again at the original Dracula dossier that had been delivered to him from his bartender friend. There was no way to trace from whence the package came, but it was decidedly an original copy of the manuscript, and whereas the electronic copies were missing many of the notations made in the work, here they were clearly evident, as was a largish stain that seemed to correspond with the notations that did not appear in the scanned copies. Lee confirmed that this appeared to exactly match what had been received in emails previously, but that the notations simply did not appear to have scanned. At all.

Even more disturbing, when viewed in a mirror, the notations simply did not appear on the screen either. There was a vague smear in the same area as the notation in the book, but it in no way resembled the actual writing.

Meanwhile, in Dubai the following was posted on Craigslist under Missed Connections:

CLDubai.JPG


The hit on “Sprechenhaltestelle” set off an old trigger in Lee’s network of connections. This was the method of dead drops that Jason Shaw instituted he ran the team on their first missions back in 2014-15. Quinn sent off a quick response: "Well you know the old man’s favorite saying. “When you are a hammer, all problems start to look like nails.” and soon a rendezvous was set up with Shaw in the Volkspark am Weinberg in Berlin, Germany the next day.

The meet went off without a hitch. No tails. No signs of surveillance.

Jason had questions for the team, as did they for him. He seemed skeptical of the idea that MI6 would kill to stop a copy of Dracula from being found, as the very idea of vampires was ridiculous fiction. He did acknowledge that the whole “Winter Soldier” scenario was clearly not normal, but the team was reticent to reveal too much information to Shaw. For his part, he revealed his belief that UNAD had been infiltrated at the highest levels, and he did confirm that he had rumors for years of a secret section within MI6 that was called Edom, but had no actionable intel on that one way or the other.

After the meet, the team was at a crossroads. There were still avenues to follow in Germany with the BASF connection, as well as other ties to the petroleum industry in Malaysia. Alternatively there was the MI6 connection and the chance to find out why they wanted the team dead.

In the end, it was London calling…

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Quinn's After Action Report
Operation: Falcon

MEMORANDUM FOR JASON SHAW

FROM: Oliver Quinn

DATE: October 17, 2016

SUBJECT: BASF Chemical Plant Fire

OPERATION: Unknown

TEAM: IMF Alpha Team?

DEPLOYED LOCATION: Ludwigshafen, Germany

After deploying our honeypot in the Lilos Internet cafe, we tailed the unwitting courier back to the main BASF headquarters. Lee’s hardware trace worked fine, but the signal was lost once the courier entered the main building. We set up a quick recon and determined that the level of security for the chemical complex was substantially higher than would be needed for a standard commercial operation. The guards were highly trained, likely military backgrounds, and were disciplined and thorough. Additional security was provided via electronic measures. All in all, it was military-grade security.

BASF Main HQ:
BASF_Visitor_Center.JPG
P2090943.JPG

We returned to our rooms at the Rene Bohn, and made plans to reacquire the laptop. We would need some time in the main building to locate the laptop, and given the tight guard presence, would need a diversion. I made some arrangements with a few locals and soon found myself in possession of some aluminium, magnesium, and iron oxide and set about to make some small thermite pencils.

Thermite Test:

Our working plan was to plant the thermite in a small device via a remote-controlled drone in a non-critical area of the plant. The resulting fire should be of sufficient size to occupy the security forces for a expanded window of time, allowing us to infiltrate and extract the hardware.

We had acquired some false credentials, and would be entering the main HQ under the guise of local firefighting coordinators, thus ensuring access to the main security center in the HQ. Once the local firefighting equipment started to arrive, we would approach and enter the complex, hopefully having sufficient time to find the laptop.

That evening we enacted this strategy, and all initially proceeded as planned. We were able to bluff our way into the main HQ building after the fire started, and quickly found our way into the R&D development area of the building, following intermittent pings that Lee was able to isolate and triangulate.

Eventually, we discovered that the laptop was in an executive wing in the R&D area, specifically in the office of a VP. We entered and discovered a laptop in the inner office, however it proved to be the personal PC of the VP and not our honeypot machine. Lee thought it could provide us with additional intelligence, and quickly made small work of it’s security and installed some custom software of his own. In the meantime, we discovered our laptop powered on and transmitting from a closed drawer in a bookcase. That set off our internal alarms, and we moved to exfiltrate.

At this point, DuBois entered the room, having been on guard in the outer office. A brace of guards were making their way down the outside corridor to our room. It was obviously a trap. Moving quickly, we disabled the guards, but we could see more on the way. We headed away towards a nearby exit, a dozen or more guards hot on our heels. Unfortunately, as we entered the stairwell, we ran into two more guards. These were dressed in bespoke suits, and were clearly not the typical security forces. This point was hammered home when we put a number of clean shots into one and he barely noticed. Shades of Bucky Barnes – more terminator-types. One of them caught me in a clinch lock, and we struggled while Lee and DuBois tried to free me. We were able to down one of the men, but by that time the guards behind us were there as were additional reinforcements from the stairwell. We had no option but to surrender.

We were led to a holding area. Strange for a R&D department in a chemical manufacturer to say the least. As we waited, we heard a series of loud booms. Explosions from the plant outside? Maybe the thermite reaction was a bit too potent?

Eventually, we were greeted by a man with a heavy US accent. Texas, I believe? He introduced himself as Martin Creasey, the man whose office we had recently searched.

What happened next was the strangest interrogation I have ever "it, on either side of the table. He invited us into his office and offered us drinks, and proceeded to ask about the “item” we had. It turned out he was looking for a book that he assumed we had, although he did not specify which book or what it allegedly contained. He seemed almost desperate to get his hands on it, but wasn’t intimidated by us, although we were alone with him in his inner office.

We were still in discussion when he received a call and left the room. A few minutes later, we spotted a Airbus H160 helicopter maneuvering for a landing at the nearby helipad, while clouds of thick black smoke poured into the air from the plant nearby. Once it touched down, a number of heavies emerged as did a well-dressed figure from our past. It looked like Alexei Petrov, the “target” from our initial team run in the training facility at Sprechenhaltestelle. What was he doing here?

We could see Martin Creasey moving towards Alexei, bowing to him and pointing in our direction. I suddenly had a very bad feeling about this. Luckily when we were taken earlier, the guards did not do a thorough job of patting us down, and I still had a thermite pencil left. It proved enough to melt through the glass window, allowing us access to the outside. We high-tailed it over the grounds to the copter, overpowered the pilot, and I flew us out of the facility.

There was indeed some collateral damage from my device, as noted below.

Collateral damage:
ludwigshafen-basf-brand-4.jpeg
Chemical_fire.jpg

At least two dead in explosion at German BASF chemical plant



We were able to safely ditch the copter in the woods nearby Ludwigshafen, and made our way covertly back to our rooms for a debriefing of our operation.

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Showdown with the Winter Soldier
Operation: Falcon

Making their way to the Burj Khalifa, the team made their way to At The Top, the highest level observation deck on the 148th floor.

At The Top:
At_The_Top.jpg


Shortly thereafter, their old UNAD handler, Jason Shaw, also arrived. The clandestine meet went down, with Jason explaining that the trio were indeed burned, and were actively being targeted by MI6 assets for termination. He went on to explain that there was a mole within UNAD, and that while he would do everything he could to help his old protégés, without knowing who was working against them he would be limited in what assistance he could offer. Direct contact was impossible, but he could use his contacts in the Middle East to provide some succor. He suggested that the team leave immediately, but to avoid the airports and ports, instead heading via car further south – through Oman and to Yemen.

It was a dangerous trip, especially for non-Arabs, but was the least likely avenue that MI6 would monitor for that same reason. The team had rearmed earlier from Lee’s hidden supply cache. That coupled with the additional funds they had “acquired” from the Russian Bratva, meant they were as well-supplied as could be under the circumstances, so they agreed to Shaw’s plan and set off for the country of Oman.

Passing through the checkpoint along Route 21 in Al Ain, the trio made their way south, stopping a passing native and trading cars, much to the delight of the poor farmer who now found himself in possession of a new BMW 7 Series sedan.

They continued onward, down Route 29 and 31, arriving in Salalah a few days later. They took some time to ensure that they were not being followed, before setting off for Yemen along Route 47, passing through the checkpoint in Al Mazyunah and heading down the coast in their old Range Rover until arriving a few days later in the port city of Aden. There, they made contact with Shaw’s contact, who was apparently working for the Houthi rebels.

The team laid low for a few weeks, spending their time evaluating the mysterious emails that had been sent to their secure accounts. It was a file called the “Dracula Dossier,” and purported to be an unredacted version of the Bram Stoker novel. A novel, apparently, that was not a novel, but supposedly an after action report of British agent Bram Stoker who oversaw recruitment of the fictional (or not?) character of Count Dracula as an asset for the British Naval Intelligence department.

The email was heavily encrypted, but also incomplete. There were indications of a series of annotations by different individuals but it was impossible to verify the completeness and authenticity of the document without seeing the original. A tracelog of the emails led to a series of offline servers in London, England, and analysis of the physical location also proved fruitless, as the refurbished warehouse had apparently burned to the ground the night that the emails were sent.

It was near the end of September when their Yemen contact, Mokhtar, announced that he had received a message from Jason Shaw. There was an UAE vessel currently headed south down the Bab al Mandeb strait that was going to be targeted for attack by the rebels. In addition, the ship was carrying a special passenger – one Nikolai Limrovich, aka Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. As part of the exchange, Shaw had requested that the team be given the privilege of being the first to board the enemy vessel. They had agreed to the terms – albeit reluctantly. The ship, HSV-2 Swift, would be in the area in a few days, so the team set out to prepare for another encounter with the remarkably resilient “Bucky.”

Houthi rebels attack the HSV-2 Swift:

Two thumps thudded through the ship’s hull as the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missiles launched into the cool night air. Trailing steam and smoke traced their path over the dark waters and explosions lit up the night as they struck home on HSV-2 Swift. The Swift was afire and obviously damaged, but did not appear to be in immediate danger of sinking, as the team alit into a waiting Zodiac and headed towards the burning ship.

<redacted>
ZodiacSwift.jpg


After making their way onboard, the team quickly moved through the main deck, finding evidence in the officer’s quarters that their target, Bucky (Nikolai), was indeed on board – a laptop emblazoned with a symbol for Marvel’s Winter Soldier was probably Nikolai’s.

Laptop logo:
Jacket_back.jpg


A chance encounter with a UAE navy sailor was quickly defused thanks to Quinn’s quick thinking, and the search continued.

The med bay contained a number of what appeared to be a Russian mercenary, so the team engaged with deadly precision. The Russian was no match for the team, and they left his body booby-trapped with one of Quinn’s frag grenades.

Finding a comm station, DuBois and Lee were able to use the intraship monitoring system to locate another group of Russian mercenaries on board. The team moved quickly to isolate the squad and took them out with one of Quinn’s ever-present M67 grenades.

Moving onwards towards the bridge, there was no sign of the Winter Soldier, but there were more Russians. They put up a bit more resistance, but again were outclassed. It was then that Nikolai appeared. Quinn took a powerful punch to the head that sent him flying, as DuBois pulled his pistol and Lee maneuvered to engage in melee, attempting to spear him through a metal wall? Bucky was caught with a number of solid bullet hits, but as usual, seemed preternaturally hale and undaunted by damage that would have incapacitated a normal man. However, the odds were not in his favor this time. Quinn missed with a tackle and fell down a set of stairs, and Lee was thrown into a computer station as he took more hits from DuBois’ pistol. Bucky turned and ran into the main control bridge, throwing the hatch shut behind him to buy him time to escape. As the team gained entry, they saw their target jumping through the bridge window, hurling towards the forward deck. They pulled up at the edge of the shattered glass and saw Nikolai on his feet and running towards the prow. DuBois pulled off one last shot and was elated to see Nikolai stumble and fall. Their nemesis was down.

The team descended to the forward deck, taking pains to ensure that Bucky was indeed dead – Lee spearing him through the heart and DuBois cutting off his head may have seemed excessive to some, but they were taking no chances. The trio then disembarked and headed back to the rebel’s ship, as the hobbled Swift slowly began to get underway once more. Without any further anti-ship weapons, the Houthi could only yell and curse as their target slowly moved off into the strait.

Swift Damaged:
Swift_ASM_damage.jpg

Having recovered the laptop’s drive, Lee set to breaking it’s encryption once they returned to their safehouse in Aden. He found a number of Skype calls made to a contact that he traced to the city of Ludwigshafen, Germany. The calls happened at seemingly random times, but always originated from Nikolai’s laptop. Lee was not convinced about the randomness, and sure enough discovered a connection between the times that the calls were made and the occurrence of a low tide in the coastal areas connected to the Arabian Sea. A perfect match, in fact.

The next low tide would occur in a few hours, so the team planned to make a call and pretend to be Nikolai. They would opt for a text-only approach, saying that connection issues were preventing Skype from working properly. At the appointed hour, the call was made, and a brief, cursory conversation happened. Traceroutes showed the call was indeed in Germany, but there was little insight gained from the perfunctory discussion. The team knew that whomever was on the other end would soon learn of the attack on the HSV2 Swift and the death of Nikolai, so they opted to pack up and follow their lead to Germany.

Travelling to Djibouti, the team made use of Lee’s skills and soon had working passports, identity cards, and travel papers to take a flight to the city of Ludwigshafen, Germany. There, they quickly set up shop in the Business-Hotel René Bohn, and planned to use the laptop as a honeypot to lure in whomever was in communication with Nikolai.

Business-Hotel René Bohn
ren_-bohn.jpg


Choosing the nearby Lilos internet cafe, Lee set up the laptop and made a Skype call, leaving the connection open. The team were waiting in place when a small company car pulled to the curb a few minutes later.

BASF Electric Concept Car:
BASF_car.jpg

A younger corporate type emerged, and moved inside, looking around the interior and glancing at his tablet. After stopping to flirt with the receptionist, he moved over to the laptop, looking around the cafe before unplugging it and scooping it up and taking it back to his car.

The young man clearly knew no tradecraft, as he drove directly back to the BASF headquarters, parking in their employee lot and heading into the main building. Whatever was going down, was happening at the BASF complex.

BASF Chemical plant:
TDI-Anlage_der_BASF_von_oben.jpg

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"Next time on Night's Black Agents."
HSV-2 Swift Destroyed Off Yemeni Coast.



The futuristic looking HSV-2 Swift, an ex-U.S. Navy experimental high-speed logistics catamaran now being utilized by the UAE government, was struck by a missile on the evening of October 1, according to multiple reports. The ship was operating near the Yemeni port of Mokha located on the northeastern edge of the Mandeb Strait, a narrow and strategic body of water that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. Iranian-backed Houthi rebel fighters have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has largely pushed them out of the southern reaches of the country, but the group is still entrenched in the west, especially along the Red Sea.

Destabilizing the Mandeb Strait could be part of a larger Iranian-backed regional strategy, one that has the potential to inflict significant economic pain on Saudi Arabia and the west. And this isn’t the first time a Sunni Arab coalition vessel has been attacked by the Shiite anti-Yemeni government group; a year ago, two coalition ships were supposedly sunk by Iranian-supplied anti-ship missiles. A third ship was struck just months before that.

The video above supposedly shows the attack. The missile launch does appear to be that of an anti-ship missile, and the ship on fire does appear to be an HSV-2. A massive explosion is shown when the supposed missile impacts the ship; it likely detonated the fuel onboard, plus any flammable or explosive cargo. The ship’s aluminum hull and commercial ship design standards offer little resilience to an anti-ship missile attack, and the HSV-2 is not equipped with a close-in weapon system (CIWS) capable of fending off such attacks.

The UAE has formally acknowledged that there was an “incident” with the ship, but claims that no lives were lost. If the video above is legitimate, which it appears to be, that would be a miracle.

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2014 - Sprechenhaltestelle Standard Briefing
<CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET>

RECONNAISSANCE BRIEFING:
Sprechenhaltestelle, situated in a somewhat run-down section of small neutral European town, has been known as the Hot Spot of the Cold War since the mid-1940’s. Here, under the guises of travelling businessmen, tourists, shopkeepers, fishermen, importers, and peasants, international foreign services’ agents have carried on a flourishing espionage business over the decades since. Information, goods, defectors, and refuges flow through this quaint waterfront community as readily as cash and bullets will allow.

The local police rarely patrol this section of town due to the low percentage of crimes reported. They tend to look the other way and let the local citizenry take care of its own misdemeanors. If the police are called, they show up in force, usually for their own protection and will normally investigate explosions and fires the next day.

It has been reported that if you want anything in the spy line you can get it in Sprechenhaltestelle. Military, political, scientific, and industrial secrets tend to wind up here. Weapons, forged papers, equipment, and pleasure can be bought for a price. Common thugs, smugglers, informers, and cutouts can almost be hired on the street. Only two things are not allowed in the district: one, to kill for no good reason, and two, to squeal on a friend.

So, with these warnings in mind both new and experienced agents can be sent her to catch up on the latest news, purchase a necessary commodity or service, or seek out personal challenges which may introduce them to the dangers and rewards of espionage.
Three major political factions are known to be represented in Sprechenhaltestelle. The West and The East both assist defectors and refugees coming over to their respective sides as well as try to detain citizens leaving their homelands. The third known faction, assumed and proclaimed Neutral, tends to aid anyone needing assistance – for a price. The three known factions exist in relative peace but will not hesitate to draw blood to reach their respective political goals.

CURRENT STATUS BRIEFING:
Somewhere in Sprechenhaltestelle East to West defectors are repeatedly captured and held at auction where they are purchased by interested powers. Two recently acquired energy technician colleagues, Ivan Ikatchtakoph and Alexei Petrov, are now believed to be within Sprechenhaltestelle. Ikatchtakoph is being held in a place called “Paradise Control” until he fetches a higher price by another power. Petrov is being entertained in “Amontillado Alley” until he shares his technical knowledge with his captors, which will be put on tape which can then be copies and sold on the world black market. Unfortunately, once finished with this exhaustive narrative Petrov will probably disappear without a trace, as many before him have already.

MISSION OPTIONS:

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE/RUMORS:

EMBARKATION:
Sprechenhaltestelle is of easy access. No one seems to notice or care whether you arrive at the waterfront by marine vehicle or step out of a land vehicle on one of the surrounding avenues.

Due to city zoning laws and the new influx of tourist trade, many of the inner streets and alleys are closed to motorized traffic. Land vehicles cannot be parked along the surrounding avenues. Marine vehicles cannot remain docked along the wharf due to merchant vessels loading and unloading. If an agent can travel off the edge of the map, even if he has to swim, he is considered beyond pursuit and safely dispatched.
Weapons are electronically enhanced to provide real-time live fire ballistic data, and appropriate responses will be issues via your earjacks. Physical CQC is permitted – standard training engagement rules are enforced. Referees are available online at all times.
Customarily, agents arrive either by walking into this district on foot, being let off on the curb by cars or taxis, or rarely, by water. Air travel stirs up too much notice since there is no local airport or heliport near Sprechenhaltestelle.

Good luck!

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2014 - Shaw's After Action Report
<CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET>

Friday, October 10

The assessment of the team continues. Oliver Quinn has taken up for the night in the Flophouse, while Dr. Felix duBois and Hung-Ke Lee are ensconced in the Hotel for the evening.

The team was quick to find and eliminate the rooftop sniper from the Marine Supplies building, and have been cautious about town in their conversations. They seem suitably suspicious of the Hotel rooms and have taken precautions to not be overheard.


Saturday, October 11

The team woke up to the morning “alarm” klaxon and prepared to fulfill their respective missions.

A recap individual training mission parameters follows.

Hung-Ke Lee was tasked with the following specific information regarding his mission:

MISSION OPTIONS:
There are two missions tasked to you at this time.

The first mission is to find those responsible for the capturing and auctioning of these defectors who have already earned their freedom from the East. Once you have identified them, you are to make sure they remain unopposed in this mission.

The second mission concerns your fellow agents. They are known to be working for the West and will attempt rescue of Ivan Ikatchtakoph and Alexei Petrov. You must prevent this from happening, but must keep your cover intact. While they may suspect you are working for the East, you must not allow them direct evidence that can corroborate that belief.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE/RUMORS:
• Beware a rooftop sniper with a scope!
• The delicatessen serves some of the most unlucky people in town.



Oliver Quinn was tasked with the following specific information regarding his mission:

MISSION OPTIONS:
There are three missions tasked to you at this time.

The first mission is to find those responsible for the capturing and auctioning of these defectors who have already earned their freedom from the East. Once you have identified the culprits, you are to make sure they cease their despicable kidnapping.

The second mission is to locate and disrupt “Paradise Control,” rescue Ikatchtakoph, and get out of town alive.

The final mission is to locate “Amontillado Alley,” rescue Petrov if he’s alive, destroy any tapes he has made if he can talk (if not, take the tapes with you), and discover how captured defectors vanish without a trace.

Note that one of your fellow agents is suspected to be working for the East under deep cover. He must not be allowed to disrupt these missions. Should you confirm this to be true, you are granted full license to “eliminate” him at your discretion, however, your cover should not be compromised.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:
• If you try to buy a magic carpet, be prepared to fly upon it.
• Ivan Ikatchtakoph and Alexei Petrov have been eliminated.



Dr. Felix DuBois was tasked with the following specific information regarding his mission:

MISSION OPTIONS:
There are two missions tasked to you at this time.

The first mission concerns Alexei Petrov. You must prevent him from escaping Sprechenhaltestelle, but must maintain your cover above all. His work is invaluable to us and must not be allowed to be stolen.

The second mission concerns Ivan Ikatchtakoph and “Paradise Control.” Ivan must be eliminated at all costs, and “Paradise Control” must be destroyed. It is preferable that you maintain cover in this endeavor also, and are encouraged to use your fellow agents towards this end.

Regarding them, they are considered expendable in both missions. You are not permitted to directly eliminate them, but if they fall in the line of duty…

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE/RUMORS:
• A well protected and concealed submarine occasionally visits Sprechenhaltestelle at night only.
• A Wizard in the basement of a bar knows you’re here and who you are.



The team reassembled after breakfast and started immediately looking for connections between their accumulated knowledge and the town at hand. Their initial explorations led them to the Carpet Shop, where Quinn’s knowledge of the code phrase “magic carpet,” allowed them access into the basement elevator and thus to the public entry of the “Pair-A-Dice” casino.

The Pair-A-Dice casino:
Casino.png
Morecasino.jpg


They successfully passed themselves off as ordinary guests of the establishment and were quick to reconnoiter the underground environs. Quinn was deployed as a distraction on the main casino floor, while DuBois’ clumsy attempts at infiltrating a door (in plain sight), was saved by Lee’s quick actions to disable the guards that were taking DuBois to Paradise Control to be jailed. They were able to bypass the door electronic and physical security, as well as a subsequent guard, and were able to locate and free Ivan Ikatchtakoph. Quinn chose to use the self-destruct system (why do we have this again?) to cover their escape, but in addition to effectively killing everyone in the underground complex, DuBois took advantage of the distraction to eliminate Ikatchtakoph per his mission instructions.

The team fled the complex and proceeded to their next target, choosing to investigate the Deli. They were unable to find any leads there, but moved next door to the wine shop and inquired about a “cask of Amontillado,” thus gaining entry into Amontillado Alley and it’s variety of illegal and underground (literally and figuratively) shops.

Amontillado Alley:
Alley.jpg
Alley_press.jpg
Gun_shop.jpg
pronshop.jpg

They surveilled the shops, and quickly determined where Petrov was being held. Quickly moving against his lone guard, they were able to rescue Alexei and extracted him from the town, ending the simulation run.


Conclusions
DuBois was partially successful in following his mission parameters, but was overtly heavy-handed in his treatment of others in a simulated environment, even going so far as to use extreme force against other agents while in the training. He shows signs of singular dispassion in this work, and is likely to be either an extremely talented wetworker or an antisocial psychopath.

Quinn was able to complete a majority of his mission, but also seemed to rejoice in excessive destruction and seemed at times to be confused or distracted. He is clearly talented in regards to his previous skills as a driver and explosives expert, but it remains to be seen if he can keep it together in the future.

Lee completely failed in his missions, yet was also the one agent who seemed to be most in control during the training. His skills cannot be denied, and he was the only one who seemed to value his current team over his stated mission parameters. He will likely end up being the de facto leader of this team.

While these three seemed to work at opposition to each other, they were still able to mostly function as a team and showed signs of potential. They have tremendous skills and abilities that they can bring to the table, and their previous experience in European agencies would prove to be an asset moving forward.

I am calling for their reassignment to the IMF under UNAD cover, reporting to Christine Lagarde. They will be tasked to me initially before moving back to standard UNAD handlers after further training and evaluation.

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DuBois' After Action Report
Operation 2 - "Sprechenhaltestelle"

It was after midnight when we received the mail from Dr. Bell. Her report was thorough, as usual, but we were obviously not dealing with a normal pathology. I read through it a number of times, but couldn’t make any more sense of the findings myself. The hematology was all wrong. Frankly, it was baffling.

After receiving the disturbing report from the CDC, I needed time to think. Alone. Away from the ramblings of Quinn and the distractions of Lee. I left the safehouse, making sure I wasn’t tailed, and took a cab back to the downtown district. Curiously, I found most of the nightclubs closed for the evening. Must be an Arabic thing. I did find one hotel bar still open, and found a relatively quiet corner to relax. Interesting place after midnight. You meet all kinds there.

In the morning, I awoke to no new revelations. Quinn and Lee were up, but they were out of their league here. Quinn posited the theory that Nikolai was some sort of “terminator machine,” whatever that is supposed to be. Some movie thing I’d hazard, knowing his predilections for the cinema.

We were at wit’s end, so Lee made a call back to HQ and spoke with our handler. She suggested that we refocus on the Russian and see if we could ascertain if he was still in Dubai for the presumed black-market sale, and if so, eliminate him and the buyers. Looking into the emails from “Jacob” was a logical place to start, and Lee quickly found a current correspondence from Nikolai to him stating that he had “reacquired the target.” Our original assumption was that he was sent to retrieve the NOC lists, but it appears we were in error and that his target was in fact, Kristina Svechinskaya, and always had been. We needed to locate Nikolai immediately and determine how best to proceed.

Lee still had administrative access into the Dubai city traffic camera system, so we started there. Finally having some images for facial recognition made it much easier, and within an hour we had a hit on the Bratva thug. We found him being escorted around town by a NAST bodyguard. And regardless of his sometimes questionable taste in liquors and tobacco, I have to give old Quinn the nod here – his earlier expedition to the Russian restaurant Skazka Al Saha was accurate, if not precise. For that restaurant seemed to be a common stop for our Nikolai. Now that we had found him, it was a simple matter to lock onto his chauffeur’s license plate and begin tracking his moves throughout the city. But for the nonce, we lit out and headed towards the restaurant.

When we got there, the car was still there, and while we were able to ID the driver, Nikolai himself was not present. Lee proceeded to hack into the cellular network and we were able to trace the text messages between Nikolai and his driver. We spoofed the channel and sent the driver a text instructing him to pick up Nikolai. Our earlier suspicions that he would be holed up nearby almost proved certain, but the driver passed by our original target of the Diplomat Hotel.

Diplomat Hotel:
Diplomat-Hotel.jpg

Instead we found ourselves headed toward the nearby Fortune Grand Hotel Deira Dubai. We quickly called off the ride via another text, and proceeded to enter the hotel in search of Nikolai and his captive.

Fortune Grand Hotel:
Fortune_Grand_Hotel.jpg

A bit of social engineering enabled us to ascertain that one “Bucky Barnes” was indeed staying here in room 842. Using a hotel keycard, we entered an adjoining room, and Lee began his electronic infiltration of the target’s room. We were able to positively identify Ms. Svechinskaya as a captive. She seemed unconscious, likely drugged, but was otherwise unharmed. Given the noted physical capabilities of the target, we decided on an indirect approach and used a diversion to lure Nikolai from him room to the front desk – a parcel of good Russian vodka was the carrot, and Lee furthered the ruse by using the driver’s spoofed phone to send a confirmation message. Once Nikolai took the bait, we entered the room and extracted Ms. Svechinskaya. As I suspected, she was deeply drugged, and I recommended we return with her to the safehouse. But first, we waited until Nikolai returned to see his reaction.

To say that Nikolai was livid was an understatement. He flew off in a rage and left the room searching for the girl. We waited for him to come back, but he never returned. Instead his driver came in about 3/4 of an hour later, packed up the few items in the room and left. We followed as he rendezvoused with Nikolai in their car, but backed off as they drove off, as we still had operational control of the traffic cam system. Their final destination was the .Skazka Al Saha.

At this point we had additional intel that showed that Nikolai was meeting up with someone from the Solntsevskaya Bratva. He had spoken recently to someone in Moscow named Ivan and confirmed that one Vladislav was travelling to receive the package (i.e. Ms. Svechinskaya). Recently events apparently had impacted the timetable and the meeting was scheduled to take place the following morning at 8:00 AM at the restaurant. We established that the Vladislav in question was likely Vladislav Vladimirovich Leontyev, a well-known Russian mafyosi. We quickly set up an intercept plan and put it into action the next morning.

Leontyev was positively ID’d at the airport, and was tracked to the restaurant, where we rendezvoused.

Skazka Al Saha Russian restaurant:
Skazka_front.jpg

After the Russians entered the restaurant, they were escorted to the singular private meeting room in the establishment. Two guards were posted outside of the meeting room while one went out front and another went into the kitchen, presumably to watch the back entrance. Quinn and Lee entered the front and took a table. After the Russian’s orders were delivered, we made our move.

Quinn and Lee quickly dispatched the meeting room guards and I took out the point man, moving quickly to the kitchen to neutralize the rear guard. From the reports of Quinn and Lee they burst in through Vthe door and took out two of the remaining guards immediately. Leontyev took shelter under a table, and Nikolai took a round and went down, but did not remain so. Showing the same resilience as our last encounter, he came at Quinn and both fell into the main restaurant floor. Lee engaged with his Jiǔjiébiān (or as he calls it, his “3.0 spiked chain?”), and was able to get in some solid blows while Quinn moved to distract Nikolai’s gunplay.

Once again, I would question our own credibility as to the next sequence of events, had I not seen this previously. Nikolai seemed sorely wounded, and suddenly wheeled and threw an entire table into Lee, dodged around Quinn and crashed through a plate glass window into the street outside, immediately running out of sight. Quinn gave chase, but only caught a glimpse of Nikolai at the next street corner. Quinn allegedly saw Nikolai down a vial of a bluish liquid before he moved off further out of sight. Lee terminated Leontyev and his remaining guard per our directive.

As we were dangerously close to being blown, we immediately exfiltrated before we were made, and headed back to our safehouse.

Once there, we contacted our handler Sylvia and received the following message in return: “Sending MI6 assets for joint operational assist. ETA 20.”

This had us on edge immediately. We had no operational contact with MI6 previously, and while discussing this turn of events received a heavily encrypted message which read: “You’ve been burned. Leave now. Burj Khalifa. 1 hour.”

We immediately destroyed our communication devices, wiped the laptop, and left empty-handed. Lee had previously prepared an escape plan and we put it into play. We were on our way to the meet when all of us simultaneously received notifications of incoming email into our private accounts…

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