11 December 2000 2300H
Lower New York Bay
The Amos Carlyle was a pre-container-ship-era freighter. Deck cranes, deep holds, and all that. Maks also noted that transport had makeshift mounts for M-60 and M2HB machine guns around the deck’s perimeter.
The ship’s security detachment was a team supplied by a private military company. They seemed competent and vigilant. What few civilian vessels passed up the coastline had on occasion been raided by pirates. Security was at full readiness. The crew disliked remaining anchored so close to New York Harbor.
It was dark of course, but a full moon was out, winking in and out due to clouds. Out in the open ocean, the breeze was a biting chill. It’d already dropped below freezing.
Maks had just finished going over Linda’s responsibilities and expectations as “Provisional District Administrator of the Census for New York City.” The team’s stance was that Linda would be the civilian census official, and they’d represent her bodyguard and support team. Linda was a bit rocky still, and occasionally unresponsive, but she’d suffice for short interactions.
This is our campaign kick-off of the Twilight 2000 module Armies of the Night.
Just before departure, my brother rolled on the Equipment Availability chart (Twilight 2000, v2.2, page 274) for medicines. I’d noted earlier:
“Atlantic City pacification is ongoing, still vacuuming up MilGov’s medical gear and medicines. No medical supplies will come in your requisition. All purchased medical supplies are temporarily 3x normal cost. All medicines 7x normal cost.”
For purposes of the chart, I counted Cape May as “City”. Despite being rather small in population, the naval base sees a fair amount of traffic, both civilian and military. In that case, “Scarce” rolls required a roll of 6 or less on a D10, and “Rare” 2 or less. He missed a lot of rolls. Here’s his successes:
- Gram-negative liquid antibiotic (requires refrigeration, but with the winter temps and ice freely available, all that’s needed is an ice chest)
- Sedative, Mild (oral)
- Sedative, Strong (injection) 72 units
- Plasma (2 units)
Also going into NYC was a Protestant missionary, Brother Michael. Resper had told Maks a bit about him, but didn’t vouch for the man. At the very least, though, he hadn’t had anything to do with the previous teams’ disappearances in NYC.
Brother Michael had been a DIA asset, and a recent arrival all the way from MilGov’s enclave in Memphis, TN. His strength was his religious conviction; Michael had a reputation for travelling through uncontrolled zones with a minimum of violence.
“He seemed intent on going to the Island; figured I might as well back him,” Resper had told Maks. Brother Michael proclaimed his wish for all to hear, to find his Brothers and Sisters in New York City, and bring the Word to the forgotten of the island.
His attire was simple and not obviously religious in nature. Always a Bible in hand. Resper had said that Michael was from a small fundamentalist sect in the Memphis area.
Maks and the missionary had met aboard the Amos Carlyle, but hadn’t clicked. Introductions were made, Maks talked about his background (Poland, epic trip across Europe). To which Michael asked: “Are you a Papist?”
“Well, we met the Pope,” Maks quipped, and related how they’d recovered and handed over the Black Madonna.
Brother Michael barely suppressed a scowl. He considered Catholic relics to be idolatry.
Maks added, “But none of us are church-goers, if that sets you at ease.”
“Well, we can remedy that Colonel Maks. No church is necessary as long as we have The Good Book,” Michael exhorted, holding up his Bible.
Maks snorted softly, and politely excused himself.
The Harbor Rats’ ship glided through the water in near-silence. The Peking was a four-masted bark.
The sailing ship sidled up to the Amos Carlyle with great care. These Rats weren’t simple marauders, Maks noted. There was an obvious competence among the sailing crew.
Greetings and naval formalities were exchanged, and a gangplank dropped between the vessels. They’d done business before.
Maks met the Peking‘s captain, after a fashion. Captain Luther was a pompous man, dressed in some navy’s attire. (Maks soon realized it was a modern German Kriegsmarine uniform). Luther spoke mostly through his toady, and the few times his did speak, it was English with an accent.
NPC Motivation Cards: Spade Jack (Pompous); Club 4 (Somewhat Violent).
Maks spoke some German himself, and greeted the Captain in his own language, getting a dignified nod in response.
The Captain was armed with an MP5K SMG on a lanyard. He wore an ornate dagger at his hip. Maks had always been an aficionado of bladed weapons, and so the dirk grabbed his attention.
He tried getting looks at the dirk while “speaking” with the Captain (really, talking through his toady).
A dispute arose almost immediately. Resper had told Maks the arrangement with the Harbor Rats was for a drop-off anywhere in southern Manhattan Island.
The Captain – here and now – insisted the deal was for transport straight to the Rat’s docks in the SE tip of the island. Anywhere else would require a “hazard fee”. The Hudson Vikings roamed the huge river on the west side of the island.
An argument ensued, Maks retorting he’d been told that the Rats controlled the harbor, but they seemed to control nothing. The Captain dug in. Maks told them fine, take me to your docks, but he’d report their intransigence to his superiors.
The gear transfer, including the Humvees, was stalled as Maks got on the radio, as if calling in the problem (actually he was doing radio checks with the bridge of the Amos Carlyle).
Captain Luther’s toady approached Maks and spoke with him privately. He urged Maks, “Give me something that I can give to Captain Luther, and we can smooth this out.” Toady told him that Luther liked the finer things in life.
Maks sighed, and as if digging into his personal stash, produced a bottle of whiskey, 4 cigars, and two packs of cigarettes. Toady requested 2 packs for himself.
Maks told him he could have more cigarettes if he could give him reliable information about the island. The Toady was initially more interested in trading for intel about MilGov and Cape May, but Maks flatly refused.
The toady returned, saying his Captain was satisfied. Eyeing Maks’ cigarettes, the toady told what he knew about Manhattan, largely regarding the southern end of the island, as Maks made notations on his map.
- The Duke has some control of the south tip of the island, though he feuds with the Harbor Rats and others. Chinatown is run by the Dragon Lords, and likewise Little Italy by the Black Hand.
- Up north, the toady told Maks that The Mayor (“Hizzoner”) was the most powerful faction leader, with his crown jewel being the agricultural bounty in Central Park – though Winter had ended farming of course.
- In the area of their landing spot at 14th St, no major faction controlled the area, instead being fought over by smaller gangs.
Maks handed over the cigarettes.
The dispute settled, the transfer of gear to the Peking continued as Captain Luther smoked a cigarette. Maks saw that Brother Michael traveled light, but he did own a motorcycle.
Maks finally got a better glimpse of the Captain’s dagger. In the eagle at the tip of the pommel was a familiar symbol. Seemed a bit incongruous that a modern German officer would bear a relic of the Third Reich. Even more strange, Barna Áron, a native German-speaker, had overheard Luther speaking. Whatever his accent was, it wasn’t German, Áron said. It was more like somebody pretending a German accent.
Whatever Luther really was, Maks left the question alone, reluctant to disrupt the brokered peace. Despite Luther’s fraud, he was a skilled sailing captain.
The Peking pulled away, and Maks watched as the Amos Carlyle receded into the distance.
For the first time, I experimented with music via Roll20. I played clips from the Escape From New York soundtrack, which is a perfect fit for the lonely and savage island.
The Drop Off
Getting to their infiltration point was an anticlimax. No river encounters. The Peking expertly glided right up to the pier. Some of the crew went ashore to secure the area as gear and vehicles were hoisted on land.
The sailing ship departed. Maks pulled his vehicles into the park’s overgrown foliage. They saw nobody at the moment through their night vision. He sent two of his men on foot to investigate the block.
He’d chosen this spot as it had a little open space, and the nearby buildings were only ten floors or less. Four hours until dawn.
After an hour of local exploration, the scouts reported back that a mob was forming up 10th Avenue, headed their way…