IC 1 - Amsterdam - Day 1

Gatac 2017-02-10 14:45:12
(As Blake has cleverly determined that his HtH rating is higher than Mr. Haircut's, he goes first in Initiative.

First attack: 1d6+2 = 4 Hit!
Damage: 1d6-2 = 4 OUCH

Mr. Haircut folds like a cheap plastic lawn chair. The Extra Attack proves unnecessary; technically you get to apply damage a second time if an opponent in close quarters goes down to zero, but that's just silly at this stage, so we'll skip the roll.

Blake's martial arts are super Hi-Yah!-y, and worth a 3-point refresh of HtH, bringing him back up to a full 8 points in his pool.)

Blake's plan is perfection in itself, and so is the execution; it is only stymied when Mr. Haircut, desperately trying to defend his face, has neither the reach to block Blake's strike nor the proper tension to soak the blow. Hitting his chest feels like hitting a bellows with an overhead hammer swing, and the tough-looking Crip thug gasps and chortles as he drops to his knees. Hands now indecisively hovering between his face and his tightening throat, he looks up at Blake.

A spin kick would have made Chuck Norris proud. But in this kind of situation, a knee to the face is far less bother and does the trick just fine. Mr. Haircut hits the floor in a sad little heap, knocked into next Thursday.

"Harrejasses!" Visser coughs, flinching back from Blake's brutal takedown and spilling some of his own whiskey in the process. As he sees Haircut on the ground, still breathing but expertly dispatched, he seems to regain a bit of composure and takes a deep breath before he actually starts smiling.

"You!" he says, "you are very good. Hah!" He looks down at Mr. Haircut. "Krijg de kolere, klootzak!" he mutters, seeming to consider kicking him in the ribs for good measure, but then he seems to think better of it - best leave the violence to the professionals. "There are two others here," he tells Blake and Luc. "And two more at the warehouse. I made so much noise they divide and come with me here. Salami tactics - is easier to handle three here and two there than five there, yes?"
punkey 2017-02-11 03:03:27
Mason hears the commotion upstairs and pulls out his burner to dial Blake. "You kids playing nice up there?"
skullandscythe 2017-02-11 08:37:38
Blake nods to Visser, mentally noting he takes it for granted that they are going after the two in the warehouse - not usually a reaction you get from a hostage. He turns to Luc, getting ready to kick himself. "Could you guard the door? I don't want anyone we didn't invite in this party." He dispenses with the drawl.

The phone buzzes in his pocket, telling him that it was probably a good thing he's sending Luc to the door. He turns to face Visser fully as he answers Mason. "What? Oh, think we're done playing now. Quick exit, don't think it's hot yet. One more guy besides lookout, stay sharp. Claude's at the door, look for him." Note to self - pay Luc back for 'code'name before he pays me back for it. Need to look up fancy French cigarettes...

Blake moves the receiver away from his mouth a little, speaking to Visser directly."Tell me more about the toughs." He uses his free hand to gesture to Haircut's prone form. He thinks he's a Crip, if they're using the warehouse, but that's unfounded right now."Did you happen to arrive in a delivery van, by chance?"

Gatac 2017-02-11 09:48:06
"Yes," Visser says. He opens a few buttons on his shirt and awkwardly pulls his undershirt to the side, showing off some nice bruises over his lower ribs. "For thirteen years I let these people" - Visser's voice drips with hate - "use my name and my company for their business. Did I complain? Did I betray their confidence? Never, not once! But then this klerelijer Varajev shows up and they want to make the money and leave me with nothing. So I call Pierre and ask to meet, but Hendrik - he is lieutenant of the Southside First Tray Crips - become suspicious so they beat me for information, then you call and we bluff them about meeting." He takes a breath. "You do not worry about Hendrik. He has importanter things to do in Rotterdam tonight. Maurizio" - he points to Mr. Haircut - "is his second. Tough guy, I thought. Not as tough as you...American?" Visser smiles. "Pierre has interesting friends. So, my proposal to you: we go to warehouse, you get Varajev's stuff, I clean out safe and office and then we make big campfire for insurance?"
skullandscythe 2017-02-11 14:25:21
Just the facts, ma'am.

Blake talks into the phone again. "Scratch that. Two left, the lookout and the van driver." He moves the receiver away from his mouth so he can ask what's been bugging him all night, but he doesn't cut off the call, in case Mason can hear the conversation. "What does Varajev have in there?" Please don't be plastique please don't be plastique please don't be plastique

Then, as something Visser said finally clicks, he asks, gently, "What did you tell your attackers?" He doesn't like bringing it up, even though Visser's doing well so far, but if he mentioned his call to Pierre...

Fuck, this is going to be a busy night, isn't it.
Gatac 2017-02-11 16:33:33
"I don't know," Visser says to the first question. "It is a shipping container, ISO, forty feet hi-cube. The papers say it is consumer electronics from Shenzhen. There is a big lock on it and Varajev only has a key."

(Using Military Science)

Shipping container. Welp, that really narrows it down. One FEU, up to 27 tons of payload. Blake briefly plays intelligence analyst, but the list of military items it couldn't be is considerably shorter than what it could be. Obviously small arms of just about every type, all practical sizes of artillery guns (though really just the guns; maybe a tight squeeze for some assembled light field artillery?), missiles, bombs (including just about every physics package still in service somewhere), very light armored vehicles (maybe a Wiesel or two?)...but let's be honest, the size limit probably means either small arms or munitions. What it definitely isn't is a tank, helicopter or plane. What it very probably isn't is an assembled ICBM (Trident I would fit the container but is too heavy; maybe defueled, though? But these are all accounted for...) or military jet engines (China has enough trouble getting the metallurgy right, why would you ever export one of theirs?).

Or it could be a shitton of plastique. Sure. Well, 27 shittons, to be precise. But Blake's pretty sure that that much BOOM going on walkabout would already be making waves.

Then the topic comes to what Visser gave away under interrogation. "Nothing!" Visser says. "I told them nothing."

That, Blake does not believe. And maybe his face gives it away, because Visser hastens to course-correct.

"I told them everything was like normal," Visser admits. "And they didn't ask any specific questions, they just beat on me and told me to talk. I didn't tell them about calling Pierre. I just kept saying I did nothing. And then you called."

That one passes Blake's sniff test; the bruising's gnarly, but for Visser to be walking and talking like this, that's probably as far as it went, and given what he's seen of Visser, it looks like the man can at least passably attempt to play it cool - a good trait for the front man of your front business to have, really. And if they really were just telling him to talk...hm. They might not actually know what he did. Still leaves the question of why they came after him in the first place. But (Streetwise 2!) Blake also knows that street gangs, even when they're well-organized, are not big believers in "innocent until proven guilty" or "investigation" or "evidence", really. Dealing with someone like Varajev must put everyone on edge, and with Visser's obvious distaste for the deal, it would have only taken one minor setback or irritation for one of the gangsters to snap and decide that it was Visser's fault. The possibility that someone knew about the call to Pierre and ratted Visser out can't be dismissed, but there's a good case to be made that it was just bad luck.
punkey 2017-02-12 18:47:19
"We've got the party favors to make it a bad night for everyone, but at the moment, what matters is if we're going to make it a bad night for our two new friends?" Mason hisses over the phone.
skullandscythe 2017-02-12 21:09:50
Blake looks mollified with Visser's answers, and simply nods to signal the end of the questions...at least, for now.

"Oh, it's definitely going to be a bad night for them," Blake responds to Mason. "Can't let them call their friends back at the warehouse."
punkey 2017-02-12 23:54:00
Mason nods and hangs up the call. "I'll take care of the guy on the roof, you hit the guy in the van. Front desk is not a target unless he engages first," he says to Tim.
Gatac 2017-02-13 06:46:49
(Let's do some player-centered combat, since the topic just came up. In essence: when your enemies are not already gunning for you, you can do one of those action thriller "Come in and take out a couple sentries in 10 seconds" scenes. To do so, you use one of your general abilities - usually Athletics or Infiltration, but as Ross can tell you, we found "plausible"* justifications for every general ability - to get in position. This is a test vs. the enemy's awareness, which is usually 3, more if they're super-elite or know you're coming, maybe even less if they're sleepy border guards on a winter night in Bumfuckistan. If you succeed, awesome. If you fail, you can immediately spend 2 points of HtH, Shooting or Weapons - whatever you wanna fight with - to regain the upper hand. This is basically one of those scenes where the guard turns around at the last moment and you have to punch them in the face or cut their arm or shoot them in the leg - it's not the takedown itself, it just gets them out of our face so you can start your killchain.

* spoken with conviction and sufficient hand-waving

When that's done, you start making your attacks. This works like normal combat: your combat ability of choice versus the hit threshold, which (like for you guys) is usually 3, but may be higher if they're particularly elite - I will in such cases offer a vague assessment such as 'These guys look like Ex-Spetzsnaz' or 'Operations wasn't kidding when she said you'd be up against a top-shelf PMC'. Anyway, you make your attack as normal. If you hit, you don't roll damage - the target just goes down, period. And then, you can continue to make attacks, but for every attack you make, the hit threshold goes up by 1, so if f'rex you're on a wicked three-mook killchain, you'll need to beat 3, 4 and then 5 with your rolls. Player-centered combat ends when you miss an attack or run out of targets.

Phew! With that said, here's Mason's Infiltration vs 3 to get up onto the roof and take out Mr. Smoke Break: 1d6+2 = 7 SNEAKY MOFO

And then, we get stabby: Mason's Weapons vs 3: 1d6+2 = 8 RAMBO'S A PUSSY)

Mason's "taking care of" begin with him grabbing a large, empty trash bag from one of the bins of the hallway before he heads up the stairs to the roof. And it turns out that the roof access door wasn't locked; maybe it never is, maybe Mr. Smoke Break unlocked it when he came through, but however you slice it, it's good for Mason. Get it? However you slice it? Because Mason has a big knife and he's gonna use it to kill Mr. Smoke Break, haha! Puns.

The roof is one of those tar-and-gravel flats that you'd find anywhere where office buildings, rainy weather and lowest bidder meet. Mason's certainly been on his share of them, usually with a blanket and a sniper rifle, but he's no stranger to elevated sentry removal, either. Gingerly stepping along the gray plastic duck boards that make up the walkway, he creeps up on Mr. Smoke Break, who's pulling deeply from his latest cigarette. The glint of the street lamps below reflects off something shiny in the man's ears - Mason's temporary concern that this could be a radio earbud is alleviated when he hears the faint sound of music playing.

Well, it's a lookout, not a hearout, right? Idiots.

Well, for all his looking, Mr. Smoke Break doesn't see Mason coming, and that's probably a good thing, because even if he had seen Mason coming he probably couldn't have done anything to avert getting a knife shoved through his neck, and why burden your last moments with that kind of terror? As is, he only has time to harrumph in surprise as Mason pierces Mr. Smoke Break's carotid artery just where it splits into the interior and exterior, opening that up wide as the blade pushes further along the thyroid and into Mr. Smoke Break's windpipe; Mason's left hand slips the empty trash bag over his head almost simultaneously and pulls it tight. Warm blood shoots across Mason's knife hand, but most of the spray is caught by the bag and runs down over Mr. Smoke Break's jacket as he desperately, aimlessly fumbles to grab Mason's hand or his head or really anything. That only lasts a few seconds before the rapid blood loss ends the struggle. Mason's not one for gentleness, usually, but he does carefully lower Mr. Smoke Break's body onto the duck boards, making sure to keep the opening of the plastic bag raised so the blood doesn't spill, then gingerly extracts his right hand and knife from within. After wiping the blade on Smoke Break's shirt, he gets to taping the bag closed with the proverbial roll of duct tape, then sets to slowly dragging Mr. Smoke Break back to the staircase for later, more thorough cleanup and disposal.

Two down. Van to go. German pronunciation pun.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-02-14 12:21:04
"But we just got here," Tim fake-complains as Mason heads upstairs to murder someone. At least the camera's still rebooting...

With that, Tim about-faces and heads back out the door he just entered. It's an easy matter to loop around the lot and reach the van, although Tim's a bit unsure which approach to take. A neck seal would give Tim the most control over Van Guy's condition, but good luck getting into a van slow and unnoticed. Even the most oblivious person Tim knows (and most people seem pretty oblivious to Tim) would notice someone climbing into their vehicle. Speed, then. But then to yank the door open - assuming the door's not locked - and then have an awkward fight with a guy sitting down... nah.

Speed, as always, is the key. Tim stops by a convenient pothole in the parking lot and hefts a piece of cracked asphalt. It's going to go through the window and into Van Guy's head, taking care of the "is the door locked?" problem as well as the "awkward fight with a sitting guy" problem. Tim waits for the lobby guard to mosey off on another slow circuit and give him a window of opportunity. Puns!
Gatac 2017-02-14 12:40:47
(Tim's Infil: 1d6 = 3 JUST SO

Tim's HtH: 1d6+1 = 4 TAKEDOWN!)

Speed might be the metaphorical key, but the piece of asphalt is the more literal one, with a delivery like a 7.65mm Walther PPK. Turns out Mr. Fruit Ninja was just getting off a call with his girlfriend, so there's his hand and phone in the way of the piece, which - lucky for him - downgrades this little encounter from "fracture" to "concussion".

The phone is bricked, though.

As Tim quickly unlocks the van's door, shoves Mr. Fruit Ninja aside and ducks down in the driver's seat, he can just about see the security guard come back from his little round - only to run into Mr. Visser, who exchanges a few words with him and claps him on the shoulder with a smile. It doesn't take long for the security guard to go back to the desk, grab his stuff and hand over a bundle of keys to Mr. Visser before heading out. Tim ducks down extra far and hopes that the guard doesn't notice the smashed window on the van, but he seems to have his mind set on going home. He takes his car - one the company BMWs, good for you, man! - and, after a few tense seconds of fumbling around inside with the seat belt and the radio and the A/C and oh my God just go already, he reverses the car off the lot, leisurely turns onto the street and then drives off.

Good to have the company owner on your side, it seems. With the guard gone and the Crips all handled, you're home free, for the moment.
Gatac 2017-02-21 15:12:14
The good part of punching into a van: less glass shards outside to make people suspicious. The bad part of punching into a van: glass shards inside. Tim's got the worst of it out by the time the others arrive with their respective quarry, and Mason immediately making a statement because the body he's carrying out is no longer breathing. Fortunately, dead and living bodies (properly secured, of course) both fit in the back of the van, so you're off to the warehouse in pretty good shape.

"How did I go here?" Visser reminiscences as you fill the van's crew cab. "Everything was smooth before Varajev. I did my business, Crips did their business and paid me for my trouble. I never asked too many questions, you know, but..."


"...oh, there it is," Visser says, interrupting his stream-of-consciousness recap of better days with actually useful information. The warehouse at the end of the road looks about as big as a football field, three stories high, no light from inside; only the street lamps and lamps at the front door and loading docks provide any illumination, lending the warehouse a bit of spooky ambiance it probably doesn't deserve. There is, however, one car parked outside: a white hatchback whose aftermarket stickers may have well cost more than the wing on the back.

"Guards are in car," Visser explains. "Supposed to walk around but they usually just wait in car. I distract the two, you go sneaking?"
punkey 2017-02-22 15:31:19
"Sounds like a plan to me," Mason says, and pats his leaky friend on the head. "You, stay put."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-02-27 11:14:37
"If you tally all those stickers, that thing should break 1000 horsepower," Tim says. "Yeah, go ask 'em if they've seen the most recent Vin Diesel trailer." Tim creeps out the back, ready to get a peek inside this mythical shipping container.
Gatac 2017-02-27 12:40:48
Tim drives casual, staying away from any bright lights on the pre-warehouse parking lot. He lets Visser creep up front, making it look like he was driving, and as the Dutch frontman saunters off to ask his "coworkers" whether they are all the way up, Tim, Blake and Mason make their escape from the van through one of the doors conveniently turned away from the guarding car. When you're trained to expect motion sensors, tripwires and guard dogs, just ducking into the dark and around a warehouse corner feels almost too easy, but all paranoia and hairs in the backs of your necks aside, you easily make it to a warehouse side door and inside.

(I'm just gonna skip saying Tim used Open Sesame. Assume that he's opening unremarkable locks as he goes wherever he goes.)

Inside, the warehouse is...well, it's pretty dark and boring. That's a fair overall assessment. You've got your high shelves stacked with crates and pallets of stuff (most of it probably legit - Mason makes out labels for "branded" office calendars and other such low-margin sundries), you've got your parked forklift in one of the corners, you've got your "foreman's office" in another corner, ditto locker rooms, restrooms and a small kitchen / breakroom, all dark and abandoned this late at night. What is lit, however, is the center of the warehouse. Bright spots suspended from the ceiling shine down on a loaded truck.

The truck's trailer is surrounded by a wall of milky-dull heavy rubber curtains, and about the front third of the container has been resprayed into a more neutral rust red on top of its bare metal surface; a water jet sprayer stands off to the side, and runoff from old paint is still visible on the floor where it wasn't washed all the way into the floor drain. Looks like they stripped the container's paint and got started on a repaint, and a plastic pouch with shipping papers sitting on a folding table to the side is probably a fresh new "fake ID" to make sure the container's journey can't be tracked further once it leaves here. Visser wasn't kidding about the lock on the container, either; it wouldn't stop Tim from opening it, especially considering the assortment of warehouse standard-issue power tools he'd be able to bring to bear on it, but it looks like it would put up a fight, and opening it without just wrecking the lock...that might actually be a proper challenge.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-02-27 12:50:15
Tim snaps pics of the forged shipping papers, the repaint job, the warehouse environs. His Peter Parkering done, he takes another look at the container lock. He recognizes the make and nods appreciatively. They didn't want just anyone getting a look inside. No, this lock was too classy for that.

They wanted to make sure only Tim Barstow could open it.

(burn 5 points on this sucker. we need to know what's in it.)
Gatac 2017-02-27 13:06:29
(Tim's Infiltration: 1d6+5 = 8 PICKED!)

While Mason's thoughts quickly switch from "blow up the container" to "blow up the lock" as he pats the pocketed C4, Tim won't stand for facing a worthy opponent in dishonor and gets to work. It's a tricky little minx, Grade 6 hardened steel body, two security pins in the front and a side ward that forces Tim to use a preciously thin tension wrench, which in turn makes the tension less predictable, which in turn makes those two security pins and their mushy pick feel a real pain in the butt. But Tim's danced this tango before, and after a minute of minute, but intense motions, the hefty padlock clacks open in Tim's smooth hands. After a final check for some anti-tamper seal or whatever, Tim cranks the container doors open and shines a light as Mason and Blake look in.

It's not a tank. But you'd be forgiven for thinking it was.

Behind the vehicle, you can make out wooden and metal crates, all strapped down inside the larger container and taking up the rest of the space inside. Wanna bet that's everything you need to get this bad boy armed and running?
skullandscythe 2017-02-27 13:13:52
Blake lets the paranoia of getting in almost too easily simmer on the back burner while he takes in the surroundings with a practiced eye towards solving an interesting puzzle. When Tim cracks the container and everyone gets a good look inside, though, Blake's eyes go wide and his eyebrows shoot up, but his lips tug into a little smile.

"Point of origin?" he whispers to the team. "And how 'accidental' should it all look?"