Red Shift episode 4: Calais – Night’s Black Agents play report

Rowan and Hans regrouped after a few days of downtime during which Hans reminisced with an old special forces buddy back in Sweden and Rowan enjoyed an illicit few days of romance and hot funky adulterous action with her (married) lover, a former colleague of hers.   He floated the idea of her coming back to the group, telling her how her expertise at making and running networks of agents would be useful in the increasingly fragmented Middle East.  She declined.

The new job in Calais sounded straightforward enough.   There were rumours of a human trafficking operation there, and a local resident named Bernard Masson had enough money and sense of civic duty to want it stopped.  He was willing to pay good money, very good money, for evidence of what was going on and could point the team  toward a couple of good leads – a haulage company and a local gangster, both of whom were likely to be involved.

Rowan and Hans set watch on the haulage company and saw the local gangster, Danglars, make contact with the manager there.   Rowan checked out inside the building using unsecured security cameras and Digital Intrusion but couldn’t pick up any audio.   They followed Danglars back to the Indigo Nightclub in the centre of Calais.   Realising the place was a “cabaret bar” with lap-dancing, and that this might be a firm connection to the human trafficking they decided to return to the club that evening and make some sordid enquiries while posing as a couple looking to celebrate their anniversary in sleazy style.

Something special?  You need to speak to Maria, they were told.   Maria’s a German woman and in charge of the other dancers.  She was unshockable and was happy to arrange for a number of girls to be provided for the couple a few nights hence.  Money changed hands, and Hans schmoozed club owner Blanchard who was slyly ogling Rowan on the dance floor.    A call from someone named Karolus interrupted Blanchard who despatched the lurking Danglars at once.

The team had planted a tracker on Danglars car… they decided… and a suitable Preparedness spend made it so.   They were not surprised to see the hoodlum return to Star Logistics, the haulage firm.  Parking up some distance away Rowan used her backdoor into the security cameras to see what was happening in the forecourt.   What was happening was the arrival of a truck from Hungary (according to the plates) which quickly disgorged a dozen frightened young women and a couple of men.   The watchers saw intimidation and violence used to get the new arrivals to stop complaining.    Then someone else got out of the truck, someone that the trafficking victims clearly didn’t know had been in there.

Then the cameras went crazy.  Just as they had in Casablanca.   Cursing whatever damned jammers somebody was clearly selling these days Rowan left Hans watching the screens and went to take a look in person.  What she saw was a tall, patrician man with white hair and a neat beard receiving bows of respect from the locals.   She took a picture of him with her phone (she thinks) and then watched as the bearded man selected one of the women and took her inside.

Hans saw the external cameras suddenly clear up… but the internal one now went on the blink.  In between the static though he saw the woman… and only the woman… in the corridor inside the building.   Then something unseen slammed her against the wall and a curtain of blood flowed downward suddenly from her throat.    Hans made a Stability spend here to keep things together.

The session ended with the trafficked victims being shipped away in a new van, with Danglars the gangster driving somewhere that (according to the tracker) was in an industrial area to the west of the city, and with the bearded newcomer somewhere still on the premises at the haulage firm.   The cameras stopped screaming as something was placed within the rear of another of the firm’s trucks.

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