note: this is a write up of the adventure our gaming group had in the roleplaying game: Nights Black Agents. All events are works of fiction. Vampires are not real.
Somewhere in a small cafe in central Tel Aviv three men are patiently sipping on their drinks during a bustling Monday morning. One of them, a slender Frenchman keeps staring at an flip phone, as he fiddles with his drink cup. After a short time the phone vibrates with a new message. The Content, a simple set of two decimals, coordinates, not far away in Tel Aviv, in a nearby dog park.
The three exchange knowing looks and exit the cafe after syncing their phone’s map apps to the GPS coordinates. Each of them takes a different route and the Frenchman is the only one that enters the park and makes his way to the coordinates, in an overtly conspicuous manner, playing Frisbee with random park goers.
The coordinates lead to a large tree and feeling around the exposed rootes he finds a small black box, similar in size to a necklace jewelry box, but cruder and obviously hand made. Pocketing the object, he makes his way out of the park, keeping a lookout for tails and Frisbee games.
- Eitan Levi – Former Massad. Removed from service for controversial reasons. Wetworker, digital surveillance expert, aspiring vampire hunter.
- Trevor Nicolas Thom – Career Mercenary, former South African Military. Explosives expert, mechanical genius, vehicle enthusiast.
- Gavronne Cartier – Former French Interpol Detective, resigned in disgrace. Investigator, smooth talker, faceman.
Prepping the Op
Back at their safehouse the crew examines the box carefully before opening it. They have been on this job for over three months, following the same subject throughout their daily lives, making logs, and submitting them to a dead drop, and receiving new orders via dead drop as well. Up until this drop things had been very routine, every drop simply had the same note:
Continue with operation as agreed. Report subjects movements, map all contacts.
However the last few months had not yielding anything exciting about the subject at all. He was a financial analyst for a vague sounding LLC:
Israeli-Euro Collaborative Offshore Holdings LLC
The subject, Issachar Gesttner, had been a pretty typical mark. He went to work, he went home, he took his kids to football practice, and he occasionally told his wife he was working late and went to his mistress’ flat. The only activity the crew had pegged as out of the ordinary was once a month he goes to a small bank, with only a single chain in Tel Aviv, and always meets with a personal banker. What he does there and why they have not been able to crack yet, but all signs point to hiding assets.
After Trevor was satisfied the device wouldn’t explode, they decided to open it. Inside they found the box had been fitted with foam padding to hold equipment. Inside there was a small vial of a strange transparent light yellow liquid, and where there was space in the foam for a syringe, instead a tightly rolled piece of urlta thin paper, held tight with a dental rubber band.
Carefully removing the band, Eitan unrolled the paper to reveal a cryptic note. The note explained their mark, Issachar, was meeting someone at the Tel Aviv marina that night at 12:30am. They needed to stake out the marine and surveil everything that went down. There were no other details and the message seemed strange. It also said to keep the vile safe, but with no explanation of what it was or why.
Cartier had Eitan copy down the message, and Eitan went to work looking for any cryptographic signs of a hidden message within the message, because the turns of phrase sounded awkward. Meanwhile Cartier examined the original hand written note’s handwriting.
Eitan was able to determine there appeared to be a simple cipher at work in the message and taking the first letter of every other word gave him:
Be careful. They Know. You are being watched
Cartier similarly discerned that it was very likely the note writer was over 50, right handed, and male.
Busy with his own task, Trevor acquired several mice from a local pet store, tested the strange liquid on them, and was able to determine it was highly toxic, at least to rats. Beyond that he could make no determinations. The liquid would test positive for amphetamines on one test, but retesting would be inconclusive. This happened for opiates, several poisons, and although it hadn’t tested highly basic or acidic, it appeared caustic when poured on the rats’ flesh.
Their questions about the strange liquid no closer to being answered, and with all the intel they could get from the note, they made their way to the marina.
Trevor decided he would take up on the break water, with a drone overhead that was muffled and could see in ultraviolet and infrared.
Cartier rented a hotel room, a penthouse room, at the nearby hotel, facing the Marina, and setup with a telescope and radio.
Eitan broke into a fishing trawler that had a clear line of sight of the majority of the marina’s piers.
While the other two were getting settled, Cartier came down from his comfortable hotel room and made his way to the marina security office. Once there he convinced the marina security officer on duty that he was a local cop in Hebrew, and perused the logbooks before getting too chatty with the security officer and having to leave before he was made.
When the witching hour finally arrived, the crew were all in position and unsure of what to expect:
At about 12:20am the sound of a ship with a high performance engine could be heard coming in from sea. Trevor had only moments to duck behind cement breakwall structures as he realized the boat coming in had floodlights and was fully illuminating the marina! Unfortunately his motion was seen and it was a tense few moments before a spooked gull took flight and the ship’s captain seemed satisfied there was no one there and drove into the marina, coming to a complete stop and drifting just after entering the mouth of the marina.
Back in the fishing trawler, Eitan witnesssed the mysterious ship flash its flood lights three times before turning them off. Afterwards he heard the roar of an engine from a boat across from his, and in a moment was completely blinded in more flood lights, having been wearing nightvision goggles, he was temporarily blinded.
Trevor, peaking over the breakwater to see what was going on was surprised to see the boat was another fishing trawler, as he recognized the engine as being a high performance engine that might be on a speedboat, a big speedboat. The fishing trawler gunned it out of its bay, and past the blinded Eitan. It approached the mysterious boat, and dropped the throttle right as it came beside the other boat.
In a moment some kind of plank or bridge was fastened between the boats, and from the fishing trawler Eitan, who’s vision had started returning, was able to make out two men carrying a large box over the bridge, followed by a very familiar suit. The mark. Issachar was there behind them crossing the boat bridge.
Reaching for his directional microphone, Eitan listened in as the men spoke:
“What are you doing? You aren’t part of the deal. You can’t come”
“Please they know about me. I’m made. This is the only way to keep my family safe”
Then there was only a loud wet smack, as if someone hitting a fresh side of beef with a meat cleaver. A moment later the top half of Issachar could be seen entering the water. Along with a trail of blood and entrails coming from the boat.
Over the radio Eitan asked if Trevor had seen what happened only to find out that Trevor had not been able to see the men crossing over at all from his drone. The drone was experiencing some kind of interference… All he could see was some kind of pixelated strangeness, except for in the infrared, where he could make out the silhouette of a man but in the same garbled view that the water makes in infrared.
Before the crew was able to do anything the fishing trawler hauled out of the marina at full speed, and a moment later the mysterious boat that had come into the marina made high wake u-turn and left the marina full throttle as well.
Trevor let them know over the radio not to worry, he had brought along a little toy, a small toy boat with a GPS tracker and some other party favors, including a self adhering strip, and it had fastened itself to the mysterious boat almost as soon as it had stopped.
The security guard, alerted to the scene of Issachar’s murder thanks to the loud sound of the ships coming and going, was running down the dockway, on the phone with the police. The crew took their cue and exited the Marina, quietly.