Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rotterdammerung

The Red Line team has followed a van full of earth -- possible the earth in which a vampire rests -- from an abandoned grave yard in Munich to the headquarters of HGD Shipping in Rotterdam. As the sun begins to rise, the private security consultants watch the building and ponder their next move.

The Red Line team consists of:

Natasha Avram, former Russian government assassin. Wears a lot of leather. Driven by money. Possible sociopath.

Sten Brodrington, ace driver who is a bit vague about which specific branch of British intelligence he worked for. He's looking for direction and purpose in life, or at least that's what he says.

Max Fischer, German investigator with a mysterious past. A little twitchy. He's hoping for some sort of redemption.

Carmel Shaked, Israeli break-and-enter specialist with a bit of a nationalistic streak. Carmel has had enough of secrets and lies.

Carmel has hacked into the building's security cameras so the team has a good idea of the layout of the building and where the guards are. Alas, there are eight guards, four of which look more tooled up than the others, and there are no cameras on the top floor, which is where the Red Line team believes the crates of earth have been taken.

The team does not know what to do. Dawn approaches and people will soon start to arrive for work, so there is a time limit; on the other hand, if there is indeed a vampire in the building, day seems to be the best time to fight it. They have come prepared to sneak in, but they wonder if approaching from above via helicopter may be better, and at least one member of the team ponders destroying the building with explosives.

With time running out they decide to go with the original plan, such as it is, but Max does remember that he knows a helicopter pilot based in the city and drags poor Dennis Engels out of bed with a promise of vast heaps of cash; Engels is instructed to get his helicopter in the air and to pick the team up from the roof of the HGD building in twenty minutes.

Carmel disables the building's alarms then the team moves; they rush up to the rear of the building and Carmel unlocks the door. Once inside they move fast, with Carmel and Max each keeping an eye on the security video feed so they can track the guards, two of whom disappear from view as they head to the top floor. No one is enthused by this development.

Most of the guards are avoided and are left far below on the lower floors but fortune is not with the Red Line team and the alarm is raised; Carmel's video feed shows two of the tougher, better-equipped guards ready and waiting for the lift to arrive.

They stop the lift, pile out, then send it up, but not before Natasha rolls a grenade into the carriage. Max, Natasha, and Sten leg it up the stairs, hoping to catch the guards off-balance, while Carmel stays behind to leave an explosive surprise between floors ten and eleven for anyone pursuing via the stairs.

The guards above are armed only with tasers and batons, and also exhibit worrying levels of strength and speed; Carmel worries that they may not quite be human, but they respond as well to bursts of submachine gun fire as the average person and do not last long.

The Red Line team hurries to the top floor where progress is halted by a locked door; Carmel slaps some C-4 on the frame and -- because of a previous experience with explosives -- the rest of the team slopes to the floor below. This cautious approach proves to be prudent as Carmel once again uses a tad too much explosive and blows herself down the stairs, gaining a few bumps and bruises as a result.

Things get worse as the team explores the top floor of the HGD building and encounters an unnatural darkness; torches don't penetrate the inky shadow, and night vision goggles prove useless. The darkness seems almost tangible and not one of the team fancies exploring any further.

Natasha rolls another grenade into the room, hoping to break a window and allow the dawn sunlight to flood in. The sound of shattering glass seems to confirm that the first part of the plan works, but the darkness remains. Then a pair of arms emerge from the blackness and attempt to drag the Russian off.

One of the guards emerges from the blackness and engages the team in combat; he survives not much longer than the other two, but it's not much of a victory as he's followed by a beautiful woman with a savage and hungry look in her eyes and nasty, big, pointy teeth.

This new arrival shrugs off gunfire and grabs Sten, dragging him into the darkness; the others try not to hear his screams as the vampire's bite is not the gentle almost-kiss he expected, but a frenzied, animalistic tearing.

Natasha dives into the darkness after her colleague and Carmel runs off. The Russian finds herself blinded and unable to help Sten, who somehow manages to wriggle free of the vampire and fumble a crucifix into his hands; he is amazed but relieved to hear an anguished hiss as the monster retreats, and begins to crawl back in the direction of his colleagues' panicked shouts.

They decide that enough is enough and retreat to the roof, where they find Carmel laying down vast quantities of C-4, but no helicopter waiting; Max contacts Engels and is relieved to hear the latter confirm that he is on his way. The wait is tense as the team expects the vampire to emerge at any moment, and Natasha fears the worst when she hears a window smashing on the floor below; the monster does not appear, and soon the team bundles into Engels' helicopter.



Once the helicopter is at a safe distance the team allows Carmel to detonate her explosives and the top two floors of HGD Shipping are turned into rubble; everyone hopes that the vampire has gone the same way, but no one is convinced, not least because Sten writhes and moans and demands to be returned to "her". Carmel and Natasha consider shooting the Englishman, or at least chucking him out of the aircraft, but Max convinces them to spare their colleague.

The team escapes and heads back to their offices in Zurich, stopping off on the way to drop Sten at a private clinic for treatment; Sten's wounds are patched up but he has suffered permanent nerve damage and his reflexes are slowed as a result. Max is more concerned with Sten's spiritual health and arranges for an exorcist to visit the Englishman, but the ritual seems to have no effect on his strange condition.

Meanwhile, Carmel and Natasha visit Munich and meet with local groups of naïve young anarchists; they convince the activists that the grave yard is the site of nasty capitalist shenanigans. The anarchists are issued with water bombs full of holy water and are directed to soak the fenced area in the name of anti-globalisation; Carmel and Natasha hope this will be enough to spoil the ground and prevent the vampire -- if she survived the explosion -- from resting there.

Next: a new friend! Maybe.

2 comments:

  1. Don't forget the drugs bust in Munich and the fluffed attempt to get the coke can into the perimeter! Quite a spicy couple of sessions - enjoying them.

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    Replies
    1. That's for the next summary! Good times!

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