Monday, January 13, 2014

Night's Black Agents: BOOM!

Finally had a decent explosion!

So, last time, the agents took a shot on Renate Bauer, but failed to kill her, so fled to Munich for a few days. While there, they did a bit of analysis using police databases and so on, and found that the near-nightly disappearances they'd found in Osijek tapered off about a week after they left. It seemed that either Dr. Macan had found a way to feed his bodyguards without having them hunt, or he'd gotten rid of them (and they'd overheard a conversation with him, recall, saying that he couldn't sustain three "of them" for long).

David dug into the computer they'd stolen waaaay back in the first op and, now that they had some data from the lab in Osijek and the lab in Paris, started putting some notes together. The notes had schematics and formulae for both the blood additives and the weird x-ray collar that dated back to the 1950s, many of which were in Russian (which David reads, fortunately). The older collar was useless as a diagnostic tool (it would microwave and kill anyone wearing it) and as a torture/murder tool (highly inefficient). But the work had apparently been going for decades. He also found a reference to "the Cocktail," which apparently was some intersection of the two projects.

Hanover also called up Klaus Hinckel, successfully this time, and learned that Renate Bauer had come to see their section head and he'd come out of the meeting white as a sheet. Renate was apparently on some important undercover assignment, but Klaus suspected she was still in the city. When she'd come in for that meeting, two men had been with her (security footage confirmed they were the missing Italian tourists; as the agents suspected, these men had apparently become Renate's bodyguards), and Klaus had later seen one of these men go to Renate's favorite baker and get a bag of pastry.

It was a long shot, but it was all the characters had. They went back to Bonn and set up more surveillance. On the first day, David went into the baker's, had breakfast, and waited around - nothing. On the second day, David went into the shop, and Lockwood entered a couple hours later, disguised, pretending to be his wife. They talked to the owner (Lockwood has Interpersonal Skills, see, while David really doesn't) and learned that the man who came in to be pastries a couple of days ago did so on behalf of a regular customer, one that hasn't been in. But that man was silent, rude, and his breath smelled terrible - and he was there before dawn.

Meanwhile, Rousseau took a bike and went around to some of the other places Renate had visited when the characters had tailed her. She found a police investigation underway - a woman had been found murdered in a dumpster. She quickly called on a cover as an Interpol officer and approached, talking to the lead investigator. Inspector Weiss told her that the woman was a bartender, and they had security footage of her walking from work to an alley, and then stepping out into the parking lot where her car was, but then the footage went squibbly. She was in the dumpster, throat slit, but there was no blood spray anywhere. It was like the blood just vanished.

Rousseau fiddled with the footage a bit (Data Recovery and the like) and restored it - someone grabbed the woman and yanked her back, biting her throat. They couldn't see the assailant closely, though. Rousseau got a copy of the footage to show the others. Weiss also told her that a man had tried to break into a storefront elsewhere in the city, and been tackled by an unknown man whom he said had tried to bite him.

Rousseau took all this back to the others. Hanover noted that the area of town that the attempted burglary had happened in had a number of for-rent townhouses for the convention crowd - good spot for a safe house. The agents went to the area and set up surveillance, and waited.

Sure enough, that night, Renate and the two men left the house. Renate and one man went one way, the other man went off alone and got on a bus. Rousseau, Lockwood, and David followed the lone man, while Hanover and Smith watched the monitors. The man got off the bus near the convention center, and walked into a parking garage. Lockwood got out and followed him on foot, while David and Rousseau followed in the car.

The man hid behind a pillar, near a particular car, and Lockwood kept watch. David ran the guy's plate - Mike Nadel, a convention coordinator. A man with a briefcase came from the convention center - apparently Nadel - and the vampire crept up to him, reaching for his neck.

Lockwood stepped out and yelled at him. The vampire turned and bared its fangs, and Lockwood shot it. Rousseau came around the corner, David leaned out the window and shot it again, and Rousseau hit it with the car and knocked it down. David got out, and shot it again, and the Lockwood grabbed a fire ax, took its head, and put it in a cooler (this they managed to do after they got the nigh-hysterical Nadel into the car). Lockwood also grabbed a wallet and a cell phone from the body. And then they got the hell out.

Nadel, under questioning, revealed he was a coordinator for various conventions, including an upcoming International Free Energy Association convention (Hanover did some quick digging; past attendees included Dr. Radovan Macan and Dr. Janos Sas). He also revealed that he was occasionally responsible for providing "entertainment" to convention folks; men, women, drugs, whatever. The agents did some quick analysis and noted that the murder/disappearance rate had always risen slightly during this convention until about three years ago - which was when Nadel got the account. They told Nadel to get out of town, dropped him at the train station, stole a new car from long-term parking, and got back to the safe house.

Meanwhile, Smith had visited the house they'd seen Renate exit. He set up an incendiary bomb at the door, hid it well, and left. The agents regrouped, and headed out for Frankfurt.

The next day, Inspector Weiss called up Rousseau (as her Interpol cover) and told her that last night, several strange things had happened. A BSI agent had gotten the would-be burglar out of jail, but it had all been very hush-hush. Then, one of the missing Italian tourists had been found shot, run over, and decapitated in a parking garage near the convention center...but he'd already been dead when all of that happened. And then a townhouse had exploded, killing two people the door and a third in the trunk of a car...but the guy in the trunk was the would-be burglar.

Hanover got in touch with Hinckel, who confirmed that Renate had been killed, though most of her body had been destroyed. No one was sure exactly what was going on, but the BSI was kind of in an uproar.

So the agents are in Frankfurt, for now. We'll see what the next op holds.