Dark*Matter #11–Millennium Knights: Chasing the Ordo Octostium

  1. Game date: 2016 Sep 10
    1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Mole
  2. London, UK. 2013 May
    1. With the data gleaned from the laptops passed onto the Millenium Knights, Supervisor Gordon-Yancy informs the agents that they have several leads. However, with Peter Bergson having escaped, the Ordo – whoever they may be – now knows that they are actively being pursed.
      1. The Knights have intercepted a message on an encrypted channel that indicates the Ordo is interested in the works of Roger Bacon, an alchemist that was a contemporary of Michael Scot.
        1. Bacon was purported to have discovered the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone – an object that according to various legends, either turns lead into gold, or grants immortality.
        2. Bacon was also a Franciscan friar – a disturbing connection to Nostradamus’ first resting place.
        3. Bacon was a young man when Scot left Britain for a post in Paris; a few years later, Bacon followed and took up a position in Paris as well, serving at the University of Paris.
        4. Although the University is now split into 3 autonomous schools many of the original buildings remain, with the majority of the “old documents” remaining in the Sorbonne.
      2. There is also mentioned in the computers that a Prince Wolfgang of Bavaria had recently acquired a stone tablet in a very private closed auction. It originated in Salon-de-Provence and is believed to be inscribed with the “Etoile d’Hesperia”.
        1. The prince is currently ninth in the line of succession for the House of Wittelsbach, the traditional rules of Bavaria. They don’t have much political importance anymore, but are still a prominent family.
        2. The prince resides at the family castle of Schloss Hohenschwangau, Germany. He is known to frequently have social events, and is likely to soon host a party to show off his new-found prize.
      3. The identities of the gunmen traveling with Peter Bergson, as well as Bergson himself are found to have visited Barcelona several times over the past few years. In particular, files in the computer highlight the Church of Sant Pau del Camp.
        1. Maverick learns that the church is at the site of an old monastery which was built in the eighth century, but scholars believe the site was used well before then. There are hints at a crypt beneath the building that is said to sit on a convergence of ley lines, a nexus of mystical energies.
    2. The agents determine that the best lead is to investigate the Church of Sant Pau del Camp in Barcelona.
      1. Markov, Lester and Maverick are joined by Agent Molenator – a former Delta force soldier on loan from MI-6.
  3. Barcelona, Spain. 2013 May 27.
    1. The agents arrive in Barcelona on train, and proceed to surveil the building. This is aided by the locale – it is now surrounded by a struggling neighborhood, leading to few visitors during the day, and sparse streets after sundown. During the evening, they don night-vision goggles and conceal themselves in some boarded up flats.
      1. Shortly after 1:00 am, a pair purposefully make their way to a side door of the building. And an hour after that, another trio.
    2. The agents proceed to the door, and after a moment of picking open the locks of what turns out to be cellar doors, descend the steep stairs to a pair of oil lamps flickering down below. But even from the top of the stairs, they can just make out the faint sounds – that of mumbling, or quiet conversation. Or yes, it could be chanting.
    3. The bottom of the stairs open up to a simple passage, with a heavy, metal-bound door way at the end, and an opening half-way down on the left and the right.
    4. On the left, set back from the passage is an old metal gate. Oiling the hinges, they proceed through to a small room acting as a storage closet. On shelves site candles, incense, clean bedding, dried and canned food, bottles of wine, and jars of what appear to be parts of animals. There are also some grey hooded robes, which they don.
    5. Opposite the gate, a new wooden door that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the ancient stonework making up these underground passages. Carefully opening it again, the room beyond is likewise small and filled with several cots and a desk, sitting at which, is a figured wearing a gray robe and hunched over.
      1. Molenator moves to subdue, when his rifle clinks on the low doorway.
      2. Before the startled figure can turn around, Lester pushes in and brings his pistol down onto the back of her head, knocking her quite unconscious.
      3. Taking a better look around the door, there are a handful of books on shelves, detailing rituals for meditation and “transcendence”
    6. The group then approaches the last door; upon closer inspection, they can see inscriptions on the archway that suggests it was originally a mausoleum of some sort. Cracking open the door, they are able to see a small chamber inside that is dominated by a stone sarcophagus. A robed man is leading the chanting while wielding a brush to paint blood onto the top of the sarcophagus. A few other figures surrounding him are chanting in response.
      1. Deciding not to take any chances, they throw three grenades into the room, instantly killing all four men.
      2. Entering, they see the lid of the sarcophagus has runes drawn in blood, and an circle etched into the stone floor around the sarcophagus has runes filled with blood. The blood comes from a pair of goats, whose bodies lie crumpled in a corner.
      3. Lifting the lid of the sarcophagus, the realize that it is entirely filled with blood. Reaching in, they begin pulling out pieces of a long-decayed body. But soon, they pull out the body of a boy of some 4 or 5 years.
    7. Questioning the woman, Markov convinces her to tell her story. Her name is Sophia Trujillo, and her ardent hope is that the ritual going on in the other room will heal her son, who is suffering from a “tumore” of the brain.
      1. She studies in the hopes that her devotion to Alejandro Rivera and his miracles will prove their worth. She met him at the Church of Sant Pau del Camp upstairs during her most desperate times of prayer. He promised her that he could help her son in exchange for her loyalty.
      2. Maverick is able to confirm that a Spanish woman by her name has been in the news in the recent weeks for absconding with her ill son in search of a cure for a brain tumor. He further learns that Alejandro Rivera is a wealth property developer in Barcelona that had purchased the building and the land to allow the church to continuing its worship services.
      3. Further questioning reveals that she has heard of an Esther West – who Alejandro referred to as “the conduit”, but has not seen any American girl there. She’s also heard that it had something to do with “El convergencia del aquaria”.
  4. Epilogue:
    1. Supervisor Gordon-Yancy request that they bring Sophia Trujillo back to London for questioning.
      1. The agents ask for support services for her as well.
      2. XP: 3
  5. GM:
    1. Grenades are deadly in closed quarters.

Dark*Matter #10–Millennium Knights: The West Family

    1. Game date: 2016 Sep 10
      1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Steve Thunderschwartz
    2. London, UK. 2013 Mar 30
      1. Briefing: Supervisor Gordon-Yancy calls the agents together and informs them that the night before, the Millenium Knights have intercepted a priority dispatch from Switzerland to a Peter Bergson. He promptly made travel arrangements to Cefalu, Italy.
      2. She wants to get him under surveillance and determine what he is after; if necessary, to detain and/or neutralize him.
      3. The location pricks Maverick’s memory – Cefalu is the location of Thelema Abbey, the temple and spiritual center founded by Alestair Crowley… Nowadays, Cefalu is a seaside town with a brisk market for tourism.
      4. They take a train to Rome, where a white-paneled van is rented for a short ferry ride to Sicily.
    3. Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
      1. 2013 Mar 31:
        1. Markov, Lester and Maverick are dispatched. They are accompanied by Steve – a security detail with prior Navy SEAL and CIA experience, due to the recent violence in France.
        2. Maverick is able to successfully determine that Peter Bergson has rented a suite at the Artemis – one of the most luxurious hotels on the island.
        3. Meanwhile, the other three book a hiking tour and make their way to Thelema Abbey. They just find an old decrepit 2 story building without any sign of habitation. Further investigation inside just reveals the collected debris of a near-century of squatters. Structured mostly as an open central area, no hidden rooms or floors are found on thorough searching.
        4. Settling down for the night, it turns out to be a quiet evening for the three.
        5. Maverick spends the night in the van parked a quarter-mile up the gravel road from the Abbey… and is awakened by a knocking on the window. He manages to successfully convince the police officer that he is no more than a drunk tourist and promises to get a room. He drives back to town, then begins to drive back a half-hour later to rendezvous with the other three.
      2. 2013 Apr 01:
        1. Deciding to pursue another angle, they return to the Artemis where Markov procures a master key from a hapless maid. Disguised as plumbers, they manage to identify Bergson when he emerges from the suite – along with six other men.
        2. Markov and Steve begin tailing the group as they leave to wander the various tourist shops and cafes of downtown Cefalu, when Steve suddenly realizes that the group of men themselves were tailing a couple and their daughter.
          1. They were keep their own actions from notice from the family, so were obviously not security from them.
          2. They have formed three groups to watch the family as they settled down for a outdoor brunch.
        3. Taking the opportunity to further investigate, Lester and Maverick exit the van and use the keys to enter into the Bergson suite.
          1. They find maps of routes in the area, as well as two laptops.
          2. Maverick begins working his magic on the computers and is able to break into one to install backdoor access into it as well as begin looking into its records.
          3. It seems that Bergson’s group had a specific interest in a West family that was vacationing in Cefalu; a Chicago businessman Joshua West, his wife Mary West, and their 15 year old daughter Esther West.
          4. As  Maverick begins to examine the second computer, a shudder – as from an earthquake – shakes the building.
        4. A few blocks away, Markov and Steve manage to be at the epicenter – a tremendous explosion as a car parked further up the street goes up in flames.
          1. In the ensuing panic, the agents see Bergson’s men grab the young woman and shove her into a Volvo station wagon!
          2. They notify Lester and Maverick, the latter who quickly realizes that the departing Vovlo would pass right by them on the way to the Abbey as he had already driven the route several times in the past day. He parks the van crossways in the street to create a roadblock, opening the hood as if the car is having problems.
        5. A few moments later, the Volvo rounds the corner and slows as it approaches the van. The driver and Maverick get into a heated discussion, prompting Lester to quickly approach and fire a round into the back passenger seat where Bergson is seated!
          1. He wounds the man, but in return, takes a punishing blow to the head, dropping instantly!
        6. The gunshots spur the driver on, who veers onto the sidewalk to push itself around the van, with Maverick narrowly jumping out of the way of being crushed between the vehicles!
        7. As the Volvo careens off, Markov and Steve continue the chase on a pair of Vespa’s the pair acquired during the chaos.
          1. Over the next few minutes, the car and scooters in pursuit jockey for position, gunshots occasionally ringing out.
          2. At one point, Markov pulls alongside and opens up with a shotgun blast into the driver. The Volvo’s passenger manages to grab hold of the steering wheel to prevent a crash, just as the car rolls up to the Abbey.
          3. The sounds of fighting draw out another pair of gunmen who had made their way inside the decrepit building.
        8. More gunfire is exchanged as Maverick – fresh from pulling the very lucky still-living but concussed Lester into the van – arrives on scene.
          1. One of the gunman kills Steve with a lucky shot to the neck, and moves to do the same to Maverick. The young man barely ducks out of the door in time, with a few shots from his .357 out through the van passenger window.
          2. The sudden loud echoing retort inside the van rouses Lester from his unconsciousness – where he stumbles to the front of the van and unleashes Johnson and Johnson into the startled gunman’s chest.
        9. As Markov’s AK-47 tears into the remaining gunman, Maverick and Markov meet up into the door to the Abbey. Maverick pushes in on the count of three, with Markov a moment behind on four, where they see a bright light emanating from the middle of the room! Stepping into it, a wounded Bergson drags Esther West with him. Maverick leaps towards it, just as it fades and he finds himself landing on the filthy floor.
    4. Epilogue
      1. The agents call in an evacuation, and are told to lay low on the other side of the island before Supervisor Gordon-Yancy can plan an extraction.
        1. They make a quick detour back to town, where Maverick traces the laptops to a trash dump just outside of town.
      2. There is non-stop coverage of the terrorist attack at Cefalu, but attributed to intercine Mafia warfare. There was initial concern about a missing American girl, but that quickly fades amidst the reports of the deaths.
      3. Back in London, Maverick pursues a further analysis of the retrieved computers, and gleans an intriguing point. The various searches and analysis revolve around looking for an Esther – who’s name in Hebrew means “star”, harkening back to at least one of the English translations in the quatrain on the computer:
        1. “A star ascends from the house of west…”
      4. XP: 2
    5. GM
      1. This is the first time we got to use the Chase rules, and it went very well! It showed them the importance of vehicle skills in such a situation.