Delta Green – The Heat of the Moment

My group decided to try Call of Cthulhu again and one of the players wanted to try Delta Green. I didn’t have anything particularly ready and decided to try the “No Security” scenario Lover in the Ice. Except I decided to set it in the middle of summer and on the coast. Yeah, I like making things difficult.

The players created characters and were defined as already being part of the conspiracy; P-Cell operating out of Atlanta, Georgia. They get their invitation to the Night at the Opera and go get their briefing to the scenario code-named

The Heat of the Moment

The East coast is just starting to recover after having been hit by hurricane Gabriel. Gabriel was not of major strength but there were pockets of moderate to severe damage. One such location is on the coast of South Carolina about 20 miles north of Charleston; a place known as Garden Cove.

Garden Cove is really two separate communities; Garden Cove and Garden Cove Beach. Garden Cove Beach is a small island (about 2 miles long and a half-mile wide) located across the Intercoastal Waterway from Garden Cove. A single bridge connected the two and during the storm it had been struck by a drifting barge. The bridge is currently closed while the Department of Transportation evaluates the damage, isolating Garden Cove Beach.

Garden Cove Beach also happens to be the location of Greenbox 217. During the storm the integrity of the Greenbox was compromised. The local Friendly who was keeping an eye on the box (Skip Mills, a supervisor for the Garden Cove Department of Public Utilities) was able to confirm a problem with the storage facility holding the Greenbox but he is not cleared for its contents and is too tied up with the aftermath of the hurricane to do much investigation anyway. The Agents are sent to the island to evaluate the condition of the Greenbox and its contents, secure the contents and prepare them to be moved to a new, more secure location, and to take care of any problems that may have arisen from the breach. Their cover is that they have been temporarily assigned to FEMA to assist with the recovery. The local FEMA coordinator is aware that they are coming but does not know anything other than their cover; she is not a Friendly and is not aware of Delta Green’s existence.

The Agents are flown to Charleston where a Coast Guard helicopter flown by Delta Green Friendly Olivia Turnbal. She is legitimately working for FEMA as well but is aware of who the Agents are and that they will be bringing something back with them from the island. She does not know anything beyond that.

The helicopter lands in the parking lot of a Home Depot where FEMA is operating a distribution center. (Power is still out on most of the island and with the bridge out they are having trouble getting food and water to the island.) The local operations team tries to get the Agents to aid with food distribution but the Agents are able to convince them that they are there to help the utilities department get the power back up. They take a U-Haul truck (FEMA has commandeered several for distribution work) and go to the utilities office.

The Department of Public Utilities office is a madhouse, with hordes of angry people demanding that their power get turned back on. Food is spoiling in refrigerators and lack of air-conditioning is making people angry. The Agents meet with Skip Mills who leads them into the back where he turns a conference room over to them to use as a base of operations. He gives them the key and access code to the Greenbox then says that he has to go help out in the field. He tells them that he has confirmed that the building holding the Greenbox has collapsed but that he hasn’t been able to inspect it personally. He leaves. The team reports in to O-Cell then heads out to the storage facility.

They get there and find one of the buildings partially collapsed. There is no power and the gate is closed but they are able to open it manually and go inside. The door to storage unit 217 is still locked but the roof has fallen in. (The side walls are still up but the center of the roof has collapsed downward.)

Inside the unit the Agents find a large number of large, plastic storage bins all labelled “GCDPU” (Garden Cove Department of Public Utilities). The roof has collapsed in the back letting water into the unit. Several shattered and broken bins are in the back and the bins have all been stacked near the front of the unit. There are a couple of empty bins there as well.

The Agents quickly realize that someone has been in the unit and moved the bins around. They search and find blood and vomit near the collapsed roof. They realize this meant someone had been there after the storm because otherwise the rain would have washed it away.

They spend some time searching the storage units (using the collapsed roof to access most of the units in the building) but don’t find anything else of interest. They then return to the GCDPU.

They split into two teams. One team of two starts going through the bins to inventory their contents and determine if anything is missing. The other attempt to locate Skip Mills to find out why he claimed he hadn’t been to the Greenbox and if he wasn’t the one who replaced the damaged bins, who did?

Mills isn’t in the building. He is supposedly out with a work team but they are unable to contact him via cell phone (the cell network is actually down) or radio. They decide to go to his house.

The team at the GCDPU looks through the bins they recovered and quickly find one that is missing part of its contents. The bin contained a number of damp legal pads covered with scribbles, a book, a letter and an old ammo box. The latch on the ammo box was open and it was empty except for a dried brownish substance. The interior of the box was badly scratched. The agents notify O-Cell and the team going to Mills house.

The letter was from a publisher to author Ryan Whitehead. Whitehead was a “gonzo” writer from the late 1960s who had been asked to write a story about a workers town in the Amazon along the Amazonian highway that was supposedly a hotbed of sin and debauchery. Apparently it was, but it also involved something that brought the Brazilian military in and ended with a lot of death and destruction. There was a monster of some kind involved, something Whitehead called an “Amante” that seemed to invoke sensual excesses. The Amante apparently infected one of his companions in some way and he was forced to kill him. He cut the creature out of his companion and put it in the ammo box; the one that is now empty.

The legal pads were his attempts to write what had happened in the jungle and the letter was a rejection from his publisher. Quick research showed that the writer had died some years ago. There is no indication of how Delta Green wound up with the box and other data.

Note: I had come up with contents for 20 different bins and had planned to have the players search through them, finding a variety of weird items before finding the one that was missing and setting off the rest of the adventure. I thought this would be an interesting diversion, but even though they picked at random they hit the correct bin on the very first try.

The three Agents arrive at Mills house and knock at the door. Mills answers after a delay, only opening the door a crack, and asks why they are there. He tells them he is changing clothes after working on a job and attempts to hurry them away, saying he will meet them back at the office. The Agents realize something is wrong and force their way into the house with guns drawn.

Mills is wearing nothing but a bathrobe and seems fascinated by the gun. The bathrobe falls open and it is obvious he is very aroused. He starts moving towards the nearest Agent and, when he refuses to stop they shoot him.

Mills falls dead but keeps moving. A snake-like thing with bony pincers around its mouth crawls out of his mouth and the players shoot it as well, destroying it.

At this point they start searching around and discover several things. First, the house is full of pornography. The walls are covered with it and pornographic videos are playing on every available screen. Bodily fluids are everywhere.

It is also extremely hot. Despite being 90° or more outside the heat is on as high as it will go.

There is also a bad smell in the house. The Agents trace it upstairs and find a body on one of the beds in a locked bedroom. The body has been ripped open from the inside. A hole is torn in the ceiling of the room and a corresponding hole has been torn in the roof. The hole is covered with a tarpaulin (not particularly unusual just after a hurricane) but this hole was obviously torn from the inside, not a result of the storm.

The Agents all confer and realize that Mills must have opened the ammo box and gotten “infected” by the thing inside. But the thing has apparently reproduced in some way and whatever it created has escaped. They collect the remains of the thing that came out of Mills (the Amante seeder) then sabotage the gas lines leading to the furnace and set a detonator on a timer. Thirty minutes after they leave the house is destroyed in an explosion and fire that will be later blamed on a gas leak caused by the storm.

Everyone returns to the GCDPU to plan their next move. They realize the thing must like hot temperatures because of the heat in Mills house and use the GCDPU computer to look for any location using an excessive amount of gas. They find one and the entire team heads there after locking all of the bins in the U-Haul they are using. They take Skip Mills car to use to get around the island.

No one responds at the door of the house so they break in. There is porn playing on the television with the sound off and magazines and other material scattered around. They search the first floor and find signs of a struggle and blood in the lone first floor bedroom. They search and determine the inhabitant was Jonah Washington.

They then proceed upstairs and find four bedrooms. The first one they open has a man lying on the bed, apparently alive but with his abdomen swollen up like a balloon. As one of the Agents moves in to examine him he splits open violently and an Amante emerges.

One agent stands stunned (failed SAN check) while the others open fire. They succeed in killing the thing but then there is a scream from overhead and a second Amante crashes in from the ceiling. It injures one of the Agents but their firepower is able to kill it too.

Realizing that the gunfire has probably attracted attention they quickly move to clean things up and leave. Two of them quickly go through the other upstairs bedrooms and find no one in them but do find multiple paintings and even a sculpture of the Amante. They also find a flyer for the “Riding the Storm Out” party at one of the beachfront hotels. The party is that evening.

Meanwhile, the others go into the basement and rig the gas line to start flooding the house. There they see another swollen body but keep their distance and set up a detonator. They leave out the back as a police car pulls up out front. As soon as they are clear they detonate the gas, destroying the house (and hoping the explosion and fire kills the thing in the basement).

Note: The actual scenario says that the Amante is in the attic of Pamela Decature’s home. (Decature is the body in the basement.) The two infected women went there (with the Amante following them) after luring Decature to their house and attacking her. I thought their actual motivation for going there was weak (Food source for the Amante? To keep anyone from missing Pamela?) and the only reason for having the Amante there seems to be to force the Agents to pick which place to go at the end of the scenario (they can save one or the other, not both). I decided not to be too cruel to the players for their first Delta Green game and simplified it a bit.

The Agents do a followup on Washington and find that he is dead. (Injured by the Seeder attack he fell into water fleeing the house and drowned.) They also determine the names of the other people living in the house; Tilda Hasting and Melody Farthing. They proceed to the hotel.

There they find the party in full swing. Asking around they determine that Hasting and Farthing were there and that they have gone up to a room with “Chad”. They go to the room and break in, finding Chad being attacked by the two Seeders. They shoot both then shoot Chad as well. (Everyone manages to make a successful Luck check and the gunfire gets lost in the sound from the band playing for the party.) They steal a maid’s cart, stuff the bodies in it and get out of the hotel.

They take the car and the U-Haul back to the Home Depot where they rendezvous with the helicopter. One Agent distracts the FEMA personnel there while the others load the bins and bodies onto the helicopter. They then leave, having the helicopter fly out to sea long enough to dump the bodies into the ocean. They then return to Charleston where they find a new storage facility to hold the bins and the one Seeder specimen they have.

With their final report A-Cell is unhappy that operational security was compromised. The gunfight at the house was noticed and one of the police responding was injured by the explosion. Hasting, Farthing and “Chad” are missing and it is obvious that a fight occurred in the room they were last known to be in and the Agents were known to have been asking for Hasting and Farthing earlier that evening. They also left Washington’s body in the morgue; though it is uninfected it does have injuries from the attack that cannot be easily explained. (And the body will be examined, especially after the events at his address and the disappearance of his room-mates. Delta Green does not like loose ends, but perhaps this incident will fade away as just another senseless, unsolved crime.

Perhaps that is the best they can hope for. This time.

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