25 October 2000
Maks’ men and the armed soldiers kept a wary distance from each other in the train yards.
The Baron had sent his veterans to guard the giant work site. They are disciplined, battle hardened. Voices low, always pausing behind cover, alert. When near Maks’ men, the Baron’s men are courteous, but keep aloof.
They had 3 dog teams patrolling the massive perimeter of the work zone. This wasn’t all for Maks’ benefit. Marauders constantly picked at the outer extents of the Baron’s territory. And the as-yet independent communities here in Warsaw could always take advantage of a moment of weakness.
The Baron sent 200 strong backs, some troops he could spare for the recovery operation. Work commences on moving debris, and a track out of town is cleared by the end of the day. That went easier than Maks expected.
The train cars for the expedition still remained to be salvaged from the nearby railyard, while recovery began on two steam locomotives at the museum, one engine for the Baron, one for Maks’ crew.
The Baron himself never showed up this day, despite the interest he earlier showed in the project. An armed group is transiting his territory, Maks hears from Sielce by runner. The Baron is in contact with them.
26 October 2000
Maks finds out that the Baron and the armed group are still in discussions, details unknown.
For once, Maks’ op seems to be going smoothly. The museum’s alterations to the trains are being reversed. Lots of metal work. Adjustments.
Engines fired up astonishingly quickly after a little work. Jan Straczynki and Captain Martens plan to do rolling trials of the engines alone up and down the tracks tomorrow.
If all goes well, the train will be ready to be assembled and leave 28 October 2000.
Here I had my brother assemble his train cars with train tokens on Roll20 (for use in the inevitable encounters later). He has his rail cars, and in their agreement the baron’s locomotive and cars will attach to the back for the journey to Łódź.
27 October 2000
The Baron has finally resolved his diplomatic issue, and arrives on scene to assess progress. He is ebullient at how quickly things are coming together.
He and Maks agree on details.
Their groups will remain separate on the trip, with the Baron’s cars attached at the back for easy separation later.
At the meeting with the Soviets in Łódź, each party will support the other’s mission. The Baron wants to open trade with the Soviets by train. Maks wants coal and safe passage through their territory.
During the meeting – without Maks seeing the provocation – Baron Czarny abruptly cuffs his obsequious attache Piekarz about the head, cursing him for his clumsiness. Piekarz stammers out an abject apology. Col Bowen coughs, catches Maks glance, and nods slightly at Piekarz. So Piekarz was Bowen’s unknown radio contact, for whatever good that information might serve.
Maks knows of a mysterious location from a while back, a place called Object 266. The party never made it out there. Best guess is that it was some kind of Soviet bunker or depot in the mountains south of Lublin. The ledgers contained a miscellany of items; many appeared to be captured West German war booty, both military and civilian.
The information is now useless to Maks, so he tells the Baron about Object 266 as a gesture of goodwill. Czarny was openly impressed, and sketched a bow.
Maks asked the warlord about the armed group transiting his territory. Turns out around a hundred troops of the defecting Soviet 10th Tank Division had themselves deserted, following the command of Illya Y. Baranov. They intended to rejoin what remains of the headquarters of the Soviet Western Strategic Direction at Lublin. The Baron allowed them to continue on their way.
In the module Return to Warsaw, the Soviet 10th Tank Division had broken into three groups in the Spring of 2001, heading in different directions. I borrowed this development for my campaign now.
The Baron bid farewell to Maks and Maj. Wilk, his emissary, wishing them a successful trip the next day.