18 August 2000
Three days have passed. You’ve dined with both the Cardinal and Henryk Rapacki.
Rapacki is gracious, and serves up some steaks grilled to perfection for your meal. After weeks of MREs, borscht, cabbage rolls, and kielbasa, it’s a welcome change of pace. His trading connections allow him to share Coca Cola, Marlboros, and a variety of American Eighties-era music with you.
Rapacki is interested in hiring your group as caravan guards (his routes are primarily west into Silesia, and east up the river to Sandomierz). Also occasional duties as bodyguards for trade delegations.
He knows about the whole Cutler/Reset hunt, but no more than you do. Rapacki believes only the KGB actually knows what they’re after, and the rest want it because the they do.
However, he does know who the factions are. Sort of. It’s a mess. The DIA has a solid presence in town, the CIA less so. They don’t get along. The DIA’s station officer is a Col. Stark, location unknown. The KGB presence in Krakow is overseen by a guy named Malekov, also location unknown. The Polish MSW in Krakow seems to have been co-opted by Malekov. Complicating things is that more KGB agents have been sent from Lublin, and rumor has it that they’re not working for Malekov. Then there’s the Guz (crime boss). Rapacki claims to not be actively himself playing for Cutler/Reset, but would not be averse to having them fall into his lap.
The Cardinal is a great conversationalist over a simple, but competently-cooked dinner.
he Pope’s outdoor Mass will be held on Sunday 20 August at the Henryk Reyman Stadium, two days from now (marked with a large red circle on the full-city map). The ORMO has good control of the area (it’s south of the river that’s the Wild West – that’s where you came in, but it’s still going to be a security nightmare. The Police Prefect had the ORMO remove the squatters in the stadium, backed by bulldozers and APCs, which brought more friction into the church-ORMO relationship. There have been scattered demonstrations of the poor wanting to see the Pope, broken up harshly by the militia, distressing to the Cardinal further.
One unexpected aspect of this contact is that you realize the Catholic Church has regional intel unavailable through normal channels. The Church has a far-flung network of parishes, convents, and monasteries, as well as devoted laity who’ll shelter them everywhere. This network has been bruised badly by the fighting, and the ministry has fallen victim to banditry that plagues the countryside. But soldiers tend to ignore priests, and only a few marauders have fallen so far as to attack men of God.
The upshot is that if you want intel of a city or area, I’ll roll for how much intel you might receive. You could even get info on places outside Poland, assuming the Church has a strong presence there. That sort of request would take time to bear fruit, as long-distance communication is slow and unreliable now).
I have some intel farther down to start you off.
You’ve stopped by Lucja’s apartment on Kolotek St. four times now (marked with a red circle on the Old City map), hoping to catch her there. Dumping the tails has been fairly simple with Maks and Wojciech slipping out the Na Zdrowie’s back door, while the rest of the party shops the marketplace (The tails seem more interested in the Americans anyway).
The building is a small-scale bicycle factory downstairs, with apartments upstairs. Wojciech has picked the lock to her door so many times he can do it in moments now. There’s no indication she’s stopping by there. [Any additional actions you wanted to take while you’re there, let me know.] Maks had little trouble getting past the factory foreman with a story about looking for his cheating wife.
On your last visit, Maks struck up a conversation with a neighbor of Lucja. On a successful Persuasion roll, Maks won the older lady’s trust and got the address of Lucja’s mother’s cousin’s place at the corner of Karmelicka and Garbaska streets (also with a circle in red). It’s a good lead.
The Vistula River
This information comes from a variety of sources, including Adam Rataj (barkeep/boat captain), Henryk Rapacki, and church connections.
I’ve added a new map of the Vistula River up to Warsaw on Roll20, plus I’ve annotated the Poland Map there as well.
The Vistula is mostly clear between Krakow and Sandomierz. “Mostly” means you probably won’t be attacked by pirates. But the riverbanks can be trouble. Sandomierz is like a miniature version of Krakow, run by a benevolent marauder turned town boss. They’re open for business.
After that, it goes downhill.
The wreck of Adam’s previous boat is noted on the map. It remains a deeply traumatic incident for him, and he says little about it. But he’s got a better plan this time, and plans to prepare and arm the boat well this time.
Lublin is firmly in Soviet control, and this power extends all the way to the river.
The expansive ruins of Warsaw have come under the grip of a warlord, the Black Baron Czarny. Marauders in the region are migrating to Warsaw in droves to join his army, and it has regional players like Krakow and the Soviets concerned. Rumor has it, though, that the Black Baron doesn’t entirely control Warsaw, and Adam has pinned his hopes on this thin thread.
Whether you take this on is something you’ll want to consider. And even if successful, Adam will want to bring family and friends back to Krakow. But it’s possible you may want to continue down the Vistula, based on your river travel experience to that point.
Moving to the Poland map, I have traced the route of the Vistula all the way to the Baltic. After Warsaw, the river jogs west, and then north, where it empties into the sea near Gdansk. One spot of intel you gleaned is that the 1st Polish Army HQ, responsible for the Gdansk area, is ignoring Pact authority. The implications of that independence are not clear.
You may decide it’s impractical to go that route. You could go directly overland westward to Germany when the time feels right. It’s not entirely crazy. You know it’s a deeply occupied zone all the way to the German/Polish border, which apparently can be reckoned to represent the front. But the trend of the thin intel you have is that even nominally loyal Pact units are more concerned with establishing cantonments for winter. Few if any are taking aggressive action.
Reports have arrived that the Polish 10th TD and the Soviet 21st MRD are squabbling over possession of Kalisz. Wrocław is only weakly held by the Soviets, with the departure of most of the 129th MRD… because of your group.
Indeed, Pact units may not even pose the greatest threat to a westward trek. With all the desertions, the hinterlands between the large cities should be assumed to be infested with marauders.