Red Shift – Episode 3 – Night’s Black Agents play report

Episode Three of RedShift was played out on Sunday evening, and while lighter on the action than the opening two episodes was still pretty intense and we got to see the Heat mechanics close up.
Mysterious Arab fellow
Valiant freelance agents Rowan and Hans ended last session in a private room just off the ER of Casablanca’s main hospital.   Hans’ face and neck had been badly torn up by the mysterious Arab man who had punched through the windshield of his car and tried to break Hans’ neck during a high speed chase… until Rowan had blown the attacker’s brains all over the car with a point blank shot to the head.    The stability loss from seeing the man rise to his feet in the rear view mirror was the first big use of the Stability rules in the campaign but perfectly justified I think.
Hans had a contact at the hospital who he’d worked with before and agreed to fix him up off the books.   While Hans was recovering the doctor, Jean, brought some bad news.   The shoot-out they’d had against the operatives with the obscure Templar insignia at the railway station had made the news and blurry CCTV images of Rowan and Hans were all over the television.    Jean was glad to help an old friend… but perhaps now they’d been patched up they could go and recover somewhere else?
No slouch at disguise…
Rowan, who’s no slouch at disguise, spent a few points toward reducing the Heat and they ventured out into early-morning Casablanca to find somewhere to hole up.   They had a meeting to arrange with their mysterious patron in the early afternoon.  Finding a McDonalds (for that authentic North African ambience of course) they sat and planned the meet.   At this point they discovered that Casablanca was home to a vast high tech luxury shopping mall.   With an IMAX cinema (“We can go see Deadpool” suggested Rowan, and because they had time to kill, they did just that!) and the largest conical aquarium in the world – Aqua Dream.
That detail clinched it for them and they mailed their handler to pass on the details to their patron.   The mysterious MORDRED121 would meet them at 1pm at Aqua Dream.
This gave me a GM dilemma.   A huge high tech mall with all those lovely features, balconies, multi-level goodness, expensive shops and glazed frontages AND A WORLD RECORD HOLDING AQUARIUM… and there was no logical way I could introduce an action scene at this point.   They’d covered their tracks pretty well and – in my defense – neither were actually in any shape right now for any dangerous confrontations.    I filed away the venue for potential later use and squirmed at the missed opportunity.
When MORDRED121 turned up he was an arrogant English academic in appearance.  He wanted assurance that the team had recovered the stolen documents in their entirety and the team retired to an upper floor of the nearest large chain bookshop.   They decided that there would be an unused reading table in one of the less popular sections and I decided to throw them a bone… while MORDRED121 began poring over the 18th century manuscript of hand written Latin arcana Rowan spotted their patron’s picture on the spine of a book nearby.     MORDRED121 was, according to the author bio on the book, a Professor William Helm of Magdalen College, Oxford.  A medievalist.    Two questions got added to the team’s agenda here:

How does a university professor, even one at Oxford, afford to hire two deniable mercenaries to recover a stolen manuscript?
Why would a medievalist be so interested in this much later document?

Helm saw them looking at his bio in the book and was not best pleased.   He also wanted assurance that Rowan had not made any digital copy of the document she’d helped recover for him.
Of course not, she lied.   She’d photographed every page individually as soon as the document was in her hands.   Helm let slip the name of the package too – the Sangretti Collection.   Suspicious but mollified Professor Helm let that issue go and decided he’d want to engage the pair for a supplementary task – escorting him and the Collection safely to Paris where he apparently had a convention to attend.    The details were provided to RedShift, the agency that handled client/operative relationships and the appropriate funds were transferred and tickets obtained.
On the way out of the bookstore though the Heat roll I’d made earlier came into play.    There were local cops all over the mall, more than you’d expect, and one of them approached Hans directly asking for ID.   Hans bluffed his way past but the cops were not convinced and Hans spotted others moving to cut off his exit from the mall.   Rowan and Helm peeled off to avoid the trouble as Hans took the initiative and approached the cops.
They were looking for the man who’d been involved at the railroad station shootout.  His description matched that of someone at the scene.   He was to consider himself under arrest…
“Of course I work for Interpol you jackass”
Until Hans’ player decided to use his first Cover spend of the campaign.   He had the cops reach into his inside pocket and locate his Interpol warrant card.   Using a combination of Cover and Cop Talk he managed to bluster the locals into believing he was working a case here (albeit slightly out of his jurisdiction) and they were endangering it.    They weren’t completely convinced until one rang control to get the Interpol identity checked out… one very tense die roll later and they let Hans go with some harsh words about authority.
Things went pretty smoothly from then on.  The team arrived at the Mohammed V International airport.   Rowan saw Helm having a quiet word with security and flashing some sort of pass… she caught the word “EISENBRUCKE” on the card and the three of them were whisked through to board the plane with no questions asked about their carry on weapons.   Rowan recognised that name – the courier with the stolen documents that they’d abducted in Marrakech had asked them in terrified tones if they were working for the Eisenbrucke Foundation.    It turned out that maybe they were…
From there a flight north to Paris.   Rowan felt mysteriously relieved – and regained a point of Stability – after crossing the North African coastline and heading over the ocean (the magical connection forged by the mysterious Arab attacker having been cut off at the water’s edge, not that they know that yet) to safely deliver Helm to his destination.

Now for a week’s downtime while Rowan has a sordid liaison with her married lover (and Source of Stability) and Hans recuperates… and then a new assignment already mailed to them by RedShift to deal with a patron in Calais.   And to ponder the questions raised from the last job.

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