OPERATION "OKTOBERFEST", part 1
(Based on the scenario "See No Evil" by Adam Gauntlet, published in UO16/17)
"See No Evil" was quite an inspiring scenario - an idea of a team of agents following around a bunch of immoral right-wing fanatics during the days before their organisation's conference, with the Karotechia in the wings, is a mouth-watering treat.
However, being from Serbia, I find the American extreme right-wingers dull and simple, Delta Green too corporate and monistic in its anti-Mythos agenda, and NY as merely a background decoration that has been totally overused. Also, I have a general problem with the Delta Green setting: the players rely too much on their official status of govt agents, and the 1990s and 2000s hi-tech equipment, unlimitedly available to them whilst on an official assignment, often ending up as a shortcut that bypasses inventiveness. Therefore, I twisted the story so that the agents belonged to the Serbian State Security Service (SDB) within the Yugoslavian security system and were sent on a mission to Munich, where a much more ominous event coincided with the famous Oktoberfest: an international organisation of Serbian reactionary emmigrees was organising a conference. I named the organisation "The New Congregation" (serb. "Novi Zbor") and based each of the characters on one of the main NPCs in the scenario; the organisation itself was devoted to historic revisionism which would reveal the dirty dealings of Tito's Partisans, while showing the Serbian reactionary movements as the real heros of WW2. Their rethoric was a mixture of rabid antisemitic nationalism represented by certain elements of the Serbian Orthodox Church (vladika Nikolaj Velimirovic) and of Serbian fascist ideology (Dimitrije Ljotic). I also changed the year to 1986, when the enmity between the Croatian and Serbian emigrees and the SDB agents abroad was again intesifying, due to the rising nationalistic feelings in the republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The task of the SDB was to prevent contacts between people who were resident in Yugoslavia as well as the gastarbeiters in Germany with the reactionaries, and to discredit and if necessary assassinate the leaders of the reactionary organisations. So the constelation of events, as set, was optimal for an exciting game. To spice things up a bit, I also had an introductory bit, in which the characters had a previous encounter with the Mythos, that made them ideal to be chosen for operation "Oktoberfest".
Note: My handouts are based on the excellent materials for "See No Evil" from yog-sothoth.com, made for Graham Kinniburgh's use of the scenario in his campaign. I can provide them on request, they are useful in case anyone wants to run this game in Serbian.
And now, here's the story of how the game played out...
A team of Serbian Security Services officers (agents code-named Dida, Decko, Fata and Leonardo) was consigned to shuffling papers in the Information Bureau after an abortive anti-reactionary operation "King's New Clothes". This hasty information was based upon misguided informational data, which indicated that Serbian monarchist emigration has established contacts and was feeding decadent and subversive materials and trying to recruit the most progressive elements of the youth avantguarde in Belgrade during the early 1980s. Some of the involved youth were children of important communist party officials, which pushed the SSS into a hasty operation against the alleged drug dealing networks and underground printing operations responsible for unauthorised artistic fanzines "Landscapes in the Mist" and "The Coming of the King". However, ultimately this was no work of the emmigration, but an influence of Hastur which was at that time spreading through the European avantguarde; but the rigid communist bureaucrats could not comprehend this, and in the iconography of the "King in Yellow" perceived a threat of the Serbian reaction. The operation was aborted as no further lines of investigation were unearthed, other than that the materials had originally been shipped from Germany; even the unmasking of the printing operation and confiscation of all existing material (including a translation of a play called "The King in Yellow") did not offer any further clues. However, soon thereafter, the involved agents started falling under Hastur's influence, that ended in the suicide of the chief officer and an extensive sick leave on mental grounds for all the other agents (diagnosed as reactive paranoid state); each one had suffered a nervous breakdown.
After almost a year on sick leave, the agents were moved to the Informational Section, a dumping ground of burned-out staff, with the prospect of doing tedious paperwork and filing data until retirement. However, after more than a year of this, they were informed by their superior that, as someone in the upper echelons in the higherarchy has taken a kind eye to them, they will be again moved to operational duties, this time in the Section for External Activities (i.e., operations against anti-Yugoslavian elements abroad). Simultaneously, each one of them had received a letter from a certain "comrade Gvozden" of the subsection of SSS entitled "Special Section for Paranormal Dealings", informing them that they will be assigned to operation "Oktoberfest", with the task of monitoring the conference of Serbian nationalists and anti-communists to be held at the end of September in Munich. They were to pay special attention to any signs of paranormal activity or occult interests in the four leaders of "The New Congregation", a pseudoscientific society bent on historical revisionism in Yugoslavia that was organising the conference. Such interests were to be secretly reported to their connection with the "Special Section for Paranormal Dealings", major Kovacevic at the SSS.
"The New Congregation" people who were set to show up in Munich were: 1) Abbot Grigorije Stankovic from Libertiville, USA (one of the heads of the new SOC, former aide of Father Nikolaj Velimirovic who was imprisoned with the other heads of church in Dachau during WW2); 2) Dr Mihailo Popivoda (as a boy in WW2 joined the Mihailovic's anticommunist movement, now a prominent USA historian and former prof of history at Uni of Boston); 3) Aleksandar Bostanovic (an emigree to Germany with a criminal background, presently publisher and editor of the "Our Truth" publications) and 4) Stevan Sijakovic (emigree to Germany, accountant by profession, secretary of the "New Congregation"). This was a genuine opportunity to monitor the meeting of the ideological leaders from the US with the organisational base in Germany, and SSS naturally would not pass up on such an opportunity.
The leader of the team, agent Dida, was provided with ample funding for the operation: 20000DeutschMarks fresh from the printing works at Topcider in Belgrade (the originals of the counterfeited money were safely stored in the vaults of the SSS). They were instructed to contact the newly-formed inter-republic SS team in Munich, led by senior agent Domagoj Reuss (Croatian SS), with junior agents Kenedi Jovanovic (ethnic gypsy) and Ljuljeta Krasnici (ethnic Albanian from Kosovo) from the Serbian SS. All the necessary equipment was already at the disposal of the Munich cell. Their cover was that they are Serbian tourists visiting Oktoberfest. In case of trouble, they would get no help at all, as that would have compromised the good relations Yugoslavia had with Germany. If they needed any additional information or help while on task, their contact was to be second secretary of the Yugoslavian Consulate in Munich, Mr Petrovic, who was a liason agent of the SSS.
From the SSS files, it was obvious to the agents that "The New Congregation" was a serious and well-organised threat to the stability of the Yugoslavian self-governing communism, especially if their ideas were allowed to spread among the economic emmigration in central Europe (esp. Germany, Switzerland and Austria). They agreed that each one should study one of the leaders in depth, to find possible flaws or vulnerabilities which would allow the person to be discredited or blackmailed into cooperation. Agent Dida took the case of Abbot Grigorije, Agent Decko took the case of Dr Popivoda, Leonardo was assigned to monitor Mr Sijakovic and Fata took Mr Bostanovic's files. It was agreed that Mr Sijakovic was the most vulnerable of all, due to having the most nondescript file without any stressful events so far; while he was the only one to have a proper family (albeit divorced). Agent Dida got Father Gavrilovic to send a package to the Deacon of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Munich, and was going to try and stir up trouble over there against Abbot Grigorije, who belonged to the emigration fraction splintered from the SOC, known as the New SOC. Agent Decko would sign up as a delegate for the conference, posing to Dr Popivoda as a representative of the newly created monarchist movement of the history students at the Uni of Belgrade.
Upon arrival to Munich, accomodation was taken at a local pension (run by the order-loving Frau Sehling) and contact made with the local SS cell. Agent Jovanovic, the technical specialist, provided the team with beepers and surveilance equipment. Due to his background, he knew a gastarbeiter of Gypsy origin who was a cleaner in the hotel Mariott; Agent Fata proceeded to make her acquaintance and to get a part-time job as cleaning staff on a counterfeit working permit (due to Oktoberfest the hotel was fully booked and short-term staff had become suddenly needed). She installed bugs in the rooms of Dr Popivoda, under the table and the bedside pane, and placed the recorder in her locker (as it happened to be on the same floor). Agent Dida sucessfully made contact with Father Simon of the SOC Munich, but could not get him to act publically against Abbot Grigorije during the conference; during the conversation with the priest, he was offered loging in the church guesthouse, and notified that a set of nuns from Nurenberg would be visiting for an elevated prayer session tomorrow. Afterwards, agent Dida went to a nearby village to buy a comfortable trailer he had found in the local newspapers - a more suitable base of operations than the pension and its intrusive owner. To offset these positive measures, however, agent Decko made a hasty and clumsy call to Mr Sijakovic wherein by inconsistencies in his fake 'nationalist' identity while registering for the conference, he set his suspicions off. Meanwhile, Agents Reuss, Leonardo and Krasnici conducted a wiring operation at Sijakovic's flat. While Leonardo was on the lookout in the Italian cafe nearby, and Reuss waited in the car in front of Sijakovic's workplace, agent Krasnici examined the flat and wired it (all the rooms and the telephone). Agent Krasnici noted the large number of files and the PC, as well as crime-movie "traps" set about the flat (a hair on the lid of the box and other Bond-like tricks). Reuss observed that Sijakovic looked very nervous upon leaving work, soon after he returened to the flat one of the bugs stopped working and agents were worried if it had been discovered by Sijakovic, who may have somehow been prewarned. Agent Reuss decided he would need to find the whereabouts of Sijakovic's former wife, to gain further information on him and therefore hired a solicitor's firm to look for her, posing as a Croatian lawyer who had an inheritance for their two boys from an uncle who had recently passed away. During her evening shift, agent Fata observed the contents of Dr Popivoda's room while he was out for dinner, and managed to get a night shift too, during which she managed to wire Bostanovic's room, hiding the recorder in a nearby ventilation duct. To maintain the cover of tourists, Agents Dida and Decko went to Oktoberfest, where they managed to cause a fight with the security by very obviously stealing the 'mass' beer mugs; they were unable to get a taxi to drive them due to their drunken state as well as bloody cuts on agent Decko's face, so they had to spend the night sleeping on benches in the park.
The next day, tapes were examined and from Dr Popivoda's telephone conversations, it was obvious he was neither very close to his wife, nor to Sijakovic. Most of the tape was filled with sounds of typing on a laptop computer. Agent Reuss decided it was necessary to break into his room and check the contents of his machine. While agent Fata stood guard, he broke in and stole the laptop and assorted valuables in the room (in order to look like a proper robbery), then removed all the surveillance equipment and the recorder; after that, agent Fata raised the alarm. She succesfully managed to misguide the hotel detective into believing that she had nothing to do with it, but was repeatedly questioned during the next couple of days and had to maintain a low profile. Meanwhile, Agent Reuss studied the contents of Dr Popivoda's disk, and among all the anti-yugoslavian writings (including his conference presentation, about the liberation of Valjevo in 1941 by the monarchist resistance of General Mihailovic) he found a hidden folder containing his drafts of love letters and poetry dedicated to a certain Reiner from Germany. Having studied his profile, agent Reuss judged that dr Popivoda was not the kind of man who would commit suicide if confronted and blackmailed with this information; thus, it was decided that agents Dida and Decko would switch to his case, and focus on making him the SSS' mole in the "New Congregation". They decided they would follow him and wait for him to make contact with Rainer; then they would confront him and turn him into a mole, feeding him with historical information from the Archives of Yugoslavia about the collaboration of the WW2 reactionaries with communists and the Vatican.