IC 2 - Amsterdam - Day 2

Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-07-11 15:25:51
"I look like a guy in a cop costume," Tim laments as he pulls at the frankly ill-fitting shirt. "Do I look like a guy in a cop costume?"
skullandscythe 2017-07-11 15:57:11
"Got something against my driving, Ops?" Blake quips, but he cedes the wheel to her anyway.

(ES point spend go!)
punkey 2017-07-12 00:57:46
"Definitely not the best fitting disguise I've ever had," Mason admits, but stops next to Operations as he walks past her. "You notice that the scene commander told them to move in before tactical arrived, and then told them not to shoot?"
Operations nods. "Noticed, yes," she says. "Not a lot we can do about him now, though. See if you can get a read on him, but don't get cocky. Eyes on the prize, Mason."
"I just want to ask him a few questions," Mason says. "Maybe run his finances before that."
"Even I can't pull a dossier out of my ass in ten minutes," Operations says. "I'll pass it up the chain. Put a pin in it, we'll circle around to him later - preferably when he's not surrounded by three dozen other cops and gendarmerie. Deal?"
"Deal," Mason says. "Might have someone in mind to be inside. The cop that took one of them down."
"Your play, your moves," Operations says. "Now if you don't mind, we have to keep this moving. I'll see you tonight."
"Tonight, then."
Gatac 2017-07-12 12:19:02
Blake's barely back in the car when Operations drives off, swerving past some slow delivery vans to get back to the highway at best speed. It's only after the onramp and the merge into the right lane that she seems to relax a bit again.

"Got something for you to look at," she says, producing what looks like a powerbank with a Raspberry Pi board attached. "Make sure you rewire the tracker to this. The people watching are going to get nervous if the tracker goes quiet."

A challenge, huh?

Blake breaks out the toolkit and starts opening up the laptop, while Operations does her best to keep the car steady. Battery out the back, wedge up the keyboard, detach keyboard, unscrew motherboard and fold up, track down the WiFi daughterboard...

"I know Mason and Barstow had to deal with some shadows today," she says. "Did you notice anyone following you to Randall's place?"


There's a hell of a lot of flashing blue lights back at the tower, plus enough black vans that the primary concern isn't so much blending in as finding a parking spot.

"Stay," Laith tells Lucy, rubbing her neck for a bit before he pops the door. He climbs out, now wearing his prosthetic leg, and gladly accepts his crutch from Tim. As you walk with him, you start to understand why he prefers the wheelchair; Laith's not doing so hot with the walking, but given his dark blue windbreaker "field tech" look, it's excusable, even if it does draw a few looks from cops and EMTs who are fortunately too busy dealing with the problem at hand, to wit: several hundred residents of the tower in various degrees of dissolution following what nobody wants to call a terrorist attack (with a bomb, even!) right here in such a good neighborhood. Mason spots Marco on a bench, face buried in his hands, as he's questioned by cops - and, aw crap, Beatrix is there, too - Mason quickly turns his head and lowers the uniform cap a bit more before she can recognize his face.

A siren blares briefly as another ambulance departs with yet another injured police officer; the remaining four ambulances have half their kit strewn out onto the floor as various cops and civilians are getting their less serious injuries looked at and treated. Rounding the tower towards the back, the full carnage of the getaway shootout becomes clear: wrecked patrol cars, bullet holes in a nearby bus station ad, and crime scene tape generously spread around the sea of bullet casings, tire marks and trails of blood. A group of KMar operatives rustles past, quiet and professional and clearly still itching to see some action, while two more of them stand guard around a mobile command center where it seems a debriefing is happening.

But you don't have to search very long for the cop who claimed first blood on the armed men; she's standing just outside the crime scene tape, arms folded and sunglasses just barely protecting her face from the wind that runs through her hair. Her uniform jacket is missing, as is her service weapon - the latter probably locked up for investigation.

She's not doing much of anything, except staring at the tire marks leading away from the scene.
skullandscythe 2017-07-12 13:49:48
"I did," Blake responds, eyes and hands still for a moment as he does so. He carries on re-wiring as he follows up. "I believe I lost them before meeting 'Randall' at his place, though it's impossible to say for sure."
Gatac 2017-07-12 14:19:40
"The reason I'm asking," Operations says, "is that I think we've got at least one car behind us. The silver Audi in the middle lane. Do you recognize them?"

Blake finishes popping the tracker onto the little gadget from Operations, then glances up from the dissembled laptop briefly to check the mirror. Yep, that's "husband" and "wife", with the man at the wheel and the woman looking down at something in her lap. So that's confirmation that they're working for...one of the people who can read the tracking signal, which covers the MSS, Fractal and whoever the gunmen in the tower were. Really narrows it down, doesn't it?

"Put the laptop back together," Operations says. "We might have to play a little shell game."


(Tim uses Surveillance to blend into the debriefing.)

While Mason's eyes are still on the scene itself, Tim guides the trio towards the debriefing at the "mobile command center" (read: pop-up tent), tipping his police-issue basecap to the KMar guards, then finds a nice little spot behind a row of very tall patrol officers - not the best view, admittedly, but close enough to overhear the debrief and with the least chance of drawing more attention than necessary.

"Je woont niet in een droomwereld," the chief explains to whoever he's explaining himself to. "We hadden een verslag van schieten en gewapende mannen in het gebouw. Wie weet wat ze zouden hebben gedaan als we niet waren ingegaan." (We don't live in a dream world. We had a report of shooting and armed men inside the building. Who knows what they would have done if we hadn't gone in.)

"Je was niet uitgerust, om de bedreiging te behandelen," another, younger man (KMar commander?) answers. (You were not equipped to handle the threat.)

"We moesten iets doen!" the chief protests. (We had to do something!)

"Je hebt er niets voor te zien," KMar dude says. "Hoe anders verklaar je dat alle criminelen ontsnapt?" (You have nothing to show for it. How else do you explain that all the criminals escaped?)

"Ze hadden machinegeweren!" the chief growls. "Ze doden iedereen die in hun weg staat! U zegt mij, mijnheer de eerste luitenant, wat u zou hebben gedaan! Ik heb mijn officieren besteld om dekking te nemen. Je hebt gelijk, we waren niet uitgerust om dit te verwerken. Kritiseer mijn bestellingen niet. Je bent hier tien minuten nadat de gevechten zijn gestopt!" (They had machine guns! They killed everyone standing in their way! You tell me, Mr. First Lieutenant, what you would have done! I ordered my officers to take cover. You're right, we were not equipped to handle this. Don't criticize my orders. You got here ten minutes after the fighting stopped!)

"Hoofdinspecteur..." the KMar dude tries, but the chief audibly stands up from whatever folding chair he was sitting in. "Ik begrijp dat je boos bent, maar deze vragen -" (Chief Inspector - I understand you're angry, but these questions -)

"Krijg de ziekte, u flapdrol," the chief mumbles, then pushes through the crowd of cops. (Fuck off, you greenhorn.) He passes by you and gives you a brief glance - pucker factor! - but finally marches past you to one of the unmarked cars, presumably to get to his office and put in his written report. As the crowd disperses, the KMar dude is left at the table, rubbing his temples.
punkey 2017-07-12 14:54:19
"You want the KMar guy, I'll take the hero cop?" Mason asks Tim. "Laith, stick close to me in any case."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-07-12 15:34:46
Tim nods, and sidles over to the dissenting KMar guy.

"What the fuck, man," he mutters within earshot. "Go in, but then don't shoot? It's like the Americans' Vietnam, yes? Crippled by leadership, you know?"

(Gonna burn my Cop Talk to get the KMar guy chatting)

edited by Gatac on 2017-07-14 14:07:25
skullandscythe 2017-07-12 15:55:18
Blake takes a quick glance in the mirror and responds with a growled "That's them, all right."

He sets to work putting the laptop back together. "What's the play, then?"
Gatac 2017-07-14 16:12:11
The KMar First Lieutenant scoffs at Tim's remark.

"Lots of civilians in the line of fire," he says. "You guys just aren't trained for this kind of operation."

Tim's raised eyebrow says more than words ever could.

"Look, if you want to be pissed at someone, look no further than the old man," he adds. "You know he almost called us off, right? Said you guys could handle a 'confused man with a handgun'. He probably didn't even believe the original 112 call. I mean, it happens, panicked civvie calls in a couple of Armenians grilling in their backyard as an ISIS planning committee. But this smelled wrong from the get go. And I got our conversation on tape because I just knew this was going to be a shitshow and it'd come down to who said what when. So then, when it goes wrong? I think it's just Hanlon's Razor. You know that one? Don't attribute to malice what can explained by stupidity. Glory hound wants to show he's got the big dog in his borough, walks you right into a massacre, and then he just panics. What's the first thing they drill you to do when shit goes wrong? You cease fire, fall back and reassess. Only the old man never got to the reassess part. Or maybe he just thought if you stopped shooting the bad guys would return the favor. He's been doing street criminals for thirty, forty years. He doesn't know the first thing about dealing with terrorists."

The First Lieutenant shakes his head.

"Look, I'm sure the old man's a great guy," he says, "but you ought to know better than I do that he's past his prime. He made one wrong call after another here. There's no need to reach for any conspiracy theories, he just messed up. And I think he knows it, and if he's the guy you guys obviously think he is, he'll realize it sooner or later and come clean. I sure as hell won't try to 'get' him or any of you for this; there's been enough bad blood and bad news today." He nods to Tim. "We're not the enemy here, okay?"


In a quiet corner of the aftermath, Mason walks over to the lone officer. "How are you holding up?" he asks her.
The cop turns her head to look at Mason. "Fine," she says.
Mason nods to Laith. "I have a tech here to see if we can pull some ID on the guy you shot. Where was he?"
The cop points to a few meters south of the tire tracks. "He was there when I tagged him," she says. "I should say, when I put a shot in his leg. I saw him take a few hits to the chest, didn't slow him down. These assholes were packing military armor. I just got lucky." She looks at Laith. "Where's the rest of your team? Stuck in traffic or something?"
"It's a big scene," Mason says. "They're around here somewhere." He follows Laith as he works his way to the blood that most likely belongs to their target. "Mind if you walk me through it?"
The cop shrugs. "Okay, so we're holding the perimeter out here." She points to the rear entrance of the tower. "I had a bad feeling when I saw that they'd wrecked the camera. Doesn't take long before the shooting starts inside. It sounded like...like Rambo or something, over the radio. So I'm just sitting here, behind the car, when the door flies open and the four gunmen come out, all black, armor, machineguns, everything. Then, like it's on a clock, this black SUV just rams its way through and pulls to a stop, they shoot over our cars to keep our heads down." Pause. "I wish I could tell you why I took the shot. They say I actually emptied the whole magazine - maybe I missed some, maybe I got the armor, maybe I got the car, I really don't know. All I know is I got one in the leg, and then they shoot at me. I just got as low as I could behind the car. By the time I looked up again, the car was smoking tires and racing away, going East."
"You took the shot because you were protecting the people next to you," Mason says, then nods. "Good reflexes. Good shot."
The cop looks at Mason. "You sound like you know a thing or two about that."
"A bit," Mason says. "What about the radio call before? Any reason your commander would order you to not wait for KMar but then tell you not to engage?"
"We handle our own shit," the cop says. "But we didn't know what we were up against. Adding more bullets would have just endangered lives." She scans Mason a bit more thoroughly. "Who are you, anyway?"
Mason ignores the last question. "Do you really believe that? There was a report of an explosion and gunfire inside the building. Is there any reason not to wait for KMar?"
The cop's eyes narrow. "I asked you a question."
"I'm trying to get to the bottom of what happened here," Mason says. "And after what he said - shouted, really - at the KMar commander back there, it seems to me that there's a lot that he's not saying. I'm trying to get to the bottom of it, because good men and women were hurt and killed today. And that's what we're both here to do - right?"

(Mason spends on Negotiation to get the cop on his side.)

Mason is not the cop he's dressed as - but he is unusually interested in things the police officer is clearly conflicted about, and it helps that his Dutch is impeccable, too. The cop nods. "I see," she says. "You are one of those people who were never here." She shrugs. "Good. At least someone is taking this seriously. Are you investigating the warehouse explosion, too - or are you with the department that buried that? All we got was some bullshit line about a gas main." She takes another breath. "Yeah, yeah, can't say. Look, the Chief's a good guy. I don't know what got into him, the commissioner said that KMar would be responding and that we needed to wait, but...I really think this could have gone worse if we hadn't gone in and pushed them to retreat. Imagine if they'd taken hostages...fuck. Anyway, I get that you're trying to cover all the angles but I think you're barking up the wrong tree."
Mason nods. "All the same, we need to look. When did he say that you needed to wait? Was that before he said you needed to go in?"
"We got the 'wait for KMar' in the briefing en-route but the chief made it clear we were going in anyway. He called a stop once they started opening up on us," the cop says. "I remember Nico...Nico shouting that the men were heading to the staircase. I guess...the chief wanted them out of the building, that was his priority."
"Which men?" Mason asks.
"The armed men," the cop says. "The shooters. The motherfuckers."
Mason nods. "So, you were told en-route that you were to establish a perimeter and wait for KMar to approach the building. The chief countered that and said you were going in anyway. You were approaching the building when the shooting started inside, they came out the front door, and then the chief told you to stop shooting?"
"Pretty much," the cop says. "But look, whoever you are, I'm telling you, the chief's not to blame here." She scoffs. "You wanna put this on anyone, put it on KMar dragging their feet. They just got here! What the hell are we keeping them around for if they can't put together an armed response faster than we can?"
"Perhaps," Mason says, and scribbles one of his burner numbers on a piece of paper and hands it to her. "But keep an eye open regardless. These are dangerous men you fought today, and they have more reach than you think. If I knew more, I would tell you. Would you do the same?"
The cop nods. "All that matters is that we catch these bastards," she says, then looks back at the command tent. "Not so sure we'll have much luck with that if we have to babysit KMar." She looks back at Mason. "If I hear something useful, you'll be the first to know."
"I'll let you know what we find about what happened here," Mason says, and looks over to Laith. "You have what you need?"

Laith nods.

"Good luck," the cop says. "Whoever the hell you are."
"Same to you..." Mason says, extending a hand.
The cop makes no attempt to return the handshake. "Maybe next time," she says.
Mason smirks - despite himself. "Fair enough. Talk to you soon, Officer."
The cop nods to him. "Gonna go start smoking now," she says, then turns and wanders off.

Mason looks back to Laith. "Seriously, can we get the fuck out of here?"
"You're the one chatting up cops," Laith retorts, handing off his kit to Mason as he starts to walk.


As Blake turns to look at Operations and watch her reply, he catches a glint out of the corner of his eye - the particular kind of glint that makes people like Blake react rather than think. He lunges for the wheel and pushes it to the left. As the rental veers off into half of the middle lane, Blake's head swivels all the way around to the back, where a fuck-off big black SUV suddenly seems to be riding halfway up into the rental cars trunk. All doubts about the other driver's intentions are removed when the rear left window lowers and Blake spots a man in heavy black tactical gear inside, presumably getting ready to stick something nasty out of the window. Operations steps on the gas all of her own, while Blake sees the silver car with the other two agents try to get into the left lane.

"They don't waste time, do they?" Operations comments as she speeds away from the two pursuers, building up a bit of a lead before they have a chance to react.

(It's a car chase, everybody!

Here's how car chases work: each round, both pursuer and pursued make tests against a set difficulty, usually 4. Success or failure on these rolls shifts the Lead of a chase. If the lead falls to zero, the pursuer wins: they've run down their target. If the lead reaches a certain number (usually 10, but more in wide open chases and less in twisty and confusing chases), the pursued escapes. Lead begins at halfway between zero and the goal, so as I'm setting a Lead of 10 as the goal, the starting lead is 5.

You can spend points from an applicable general ability (generally Athletics, Driving or Piloting) to boost your tests, as usual. To do this, both sides secretly determine how many points they're spending each round, then reveal it. In practice, this means I will message my initial pool plus my spending in the current round as GM to an uninvolved player, then ask you to reveal how much you're spending - that way the other player can confirm I didn't change my own spending after hearing yours or fudge my pool totals without having to reveal how big my pool is to the players who are in the chase - wouldn't be fun if you knew, right? :D

And I know, I know, Blake has no Driving left right now, but as introduction to the concept I'm having Operations at the wheel, who provides you with a nice round 10 points to spend on boosting your rolls for the purposes of this chase. Further good news: as your car is faster than the SUV in the chase, you have the speed advantage, granting a +1 bonus to all chase rolls you make.

But that's not all! Chases let you use your investigative abilities to gain benefits as you apply your theoretical knowledge to the matter at hand. You can use investigative abilities, which will - at my discretion - let you gain points to boost your rolls, lower the difficulty of a roll, force me to reveal my own spending before you have to make your call, take away points from my own pool, directly change the lead or allow the use of certain special rules which I'll explain in a moment. If you also spend a point from that investigative ability, the effect will be stronger. Take note, however, that each investigative ability can only be used once per chase.

You can shoot at enemies, jump between vehicles, ram them at close ranges...we'll cover these as needed.

As the pursued, you can decide to raise. If you do, both your own roll and your enemy's next roll becomes more difficult by 1. This represents taking the chase to more difficult ground, trying to make crazy maneuvers or just pushing on the gas in an attempt to shake your opponent. If you fail that roll, difficulty drops back to where it previously was; if you succeed, you may keep the heightened difficulty for next round or drop back down; if both you and the pursuer succeed, you may stay or raise again or (with the pursuer's agreement) drop back down.

You can also try a Swerve, which costs three points up front but doubles all Lead changes that round.

Finally, with a Lead of 7 or better, you can attempt a Sudden Escape - this is a big, bold move designed to decisively get you away from the pursuers. The difficulty is (at least) 1 higher than whatever the normal chase roll would be; if you succeed, you win the chase, if you fail, you crash at high speed. Crashing at high speed is discouraged.

Happy chasing! For the purposes of this chase, I am messaging Kasey my pool total and my point spends.)
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-07-14 17:14:05
"Sure, sure, Tim nods to the KMar guy. "Same team. CYA all the same, right? Catch you later."

Noting the guy's badge and the fact that he mentioned he recorded his call, Tim melts back to rejoin Mason and Laith. "KMar recorded the call with the chief, but it's not like we need evidence to roll somebody. You wanna just hit the chief at his home or something?"
punkey 2017-07-15 02:10:41
"We need that tape first," Mason says. "Let's head back to the boat and see what Laith can come up with from the samples."
skullandscythe 2017-07-17 12:41:20
Ops puts the pedal to the metal, and Blake tries to pay attention to the route and not the numerous close calls with other cars.

"Hey, hit the exit right here. Takes you on a good straightaway not far from the docks or the projects."

(Spending 1 point of Urban Survival. Ops will Raise and spend 2 Driving points.)
Gatac 2017-07-17 12:56:52
"Got it!" Operations replies, staying on the gas until the last moment before flying into the exit. The sharp curve of the offramp tests the car's brakes as Ops flicks the car through the turn, barely missing a motorcycle on the straightaway; Ops curses as she tries to right the car and get the steering oscillation settled. Blake cranes his head behind to see the SUV just gun it all the way up the ramp and catch some air at the top, landing in the opposite lane! Honking and flashing lights ensue as the SUV causes a few cars to swerve out of its way before it rumbles across the median and gets back on your tail. Behind it, the silver car tries to catch up, but doesn't have the room to overtake the SUV and use its superior speed. Blake's attention is ripped back to the road ahead when Ops leans on the horn to try and clear a path.

"Easy, easy," Ops mumbles to herself, right hand on the gear lever. She weaves past a delivery van and gives it a bit more gas as the street opens up again, with the SUV still hot on your heels.

(I am ruling that spending that point of Urban Survival lets the pursued keep their difficulty at 4 while the Raise applies to the opponents, giving them a difficulty of 5 for subsequent chase rolls. Blake & Ops roll poorly this first round and just barely make their chase roll, while the pursuers roll high - margin is on their side, so the Lead drops by 1 to 4.)
skullandscythe 2017-07-17 21:47:18
Blake plays backseat driver to Ops for a bit before they hit the next exit Blake's looking for. Apparently, even Amsterdam has crazy drivers. You know, besides that ones that are actually trying to kill you.

(Spending a point of Notice to find a weave through traffic. Ops burns another two points.)
Gatac 2017-07-18 01:04:43
Astrid nervously glances over the steering wheel of the driving school VW Golf at the traffic light.

"Just like we practiced, Astrid," Roberto says. "Clutch all the way down, first gear, and then we'll take it nice and slow, okay?"

Astrid nods. This is her fortieth practical lesson and, so far, she hasn't stalled the car out, but she knows she will and her whole body is tensed up waiting for it and that doesn't make this any easier. Maybe she shouldn't be taking driving lessons in Amsterdam.

Case in point: the light goes from red to yellow and like a good little student, Astrid whispers to herself as she does it: clutch, gear, ease off the pedal with a little gas until it "bites"...and then the rental car shoots across the intersection. Astrid squeals and Roberto steps on the teacher's gas pedal, ripping the wheel around to dodge the crosstraffic maniac. The place where Astrid and Roberto's car was a second ago becomes part of the SUV's trajectory, which clips the rear of the Golf and spins it roughly 90 degrees out of the way.

As Astrid holds on for dear life and Roberto shouts "Oh shit!", the silver car rushes towards them, and wide-eyed looks pass between Astrid and the female merc at the wheel of the pursuit car - then the merc stands on the brakes and tries to steer around the wrecked Golf in the middle of the intersection, steering her own car through a food cart, splashing pickled fish all over her windscreen. The engine roars as the car desperately tries to pick up enough speed to ramp over the Westlandgracht canal...

...and the last thing Blake sees in the rear view mirror is the silver car rising briefly before sinking, sinking and splashing into the water. The SUV remains on their tail, but a good deal farther back - either they're getting more careful or that collision with the Golf damaged something important.

Meanwhile, Ops has somehow managed to connect her phone to the car and the stereo sounds with the surprisingly loud sounds of an outgoing call to the rest of the team.

"Hello, boys," Operations says. "We're coming up on Surinameplein and I think we found our bad guys. Any place in particular you'd like us to deliver them?"

(Ops and Blake make their roll while the pursuers fail, adjusting Lead by 2 to a total of 6. Blake's spend reduces the enemy chase pool by 4 points.)
punkey 2017-07-18 07:23:55
Mason looks down at the cop uniforms he and Tim are still wearing and smirks at Tim. "And how many are we catering this party for?"
skullandscythe 2017-07-18 08:41:17
"One black SUV, carrying anywhere between 4 to 8 men wearing tac gear and looking well-armed," Blake responds. "Find a table for them quick and some shots of AP for them, they look like they need to take the edge off."

And now I'm itching for that breakfast buffet again. I wonder if they serve lox? Been a while since I had some good smoked salmon...
punkey 2017-07-18 08:51:39
"That's quite a rowdy party," Mason replies, and goes silent as he tries to think of a solution as quickly as possible. There's a park there, but we'd have to clear it out - we could bring the cops in, but they'd get shredded and we'd be arrested - we can't ram them because it'd wreck the van and we need it - fuck what else is there -

Mason stops when he sees a bus pull out of a protected bus road. "Laith, how fast can you take control of a set of retractable bollards?"
Gatac 2017-07-18 10:25:11
"Maybe a week?" Laith comments, then grins. "But this is the gig economy. You drive, I'll hire someone who can get us in."