12 December 2000 1000H. 14th St Park, Manhattan Island, New York City.
In the morning, Stella, the leader of the 14th St Westers, pulled Maks aside. She wanted to know what the story was behind the “Bible guy”. Maks told her Brother Michael wasn’t part of the team, that he was on his own mission.
“Well, he must be the sentimental type, or he’s up to something. He’s been taking shots of all of us with a camera on the sly, but mostly his attention was on your group.”
Maks strode directly to Brother Michael. He was packing his motorcycle, with no camera in sight. Maks confronted him about the camera, to which Michael claimed he was dry-shooting without film, testing the camera’s settings.
Maks replied: “I ever find out photos were taken of us, I will kill you.”
Brother Michael nodded, resumed his preparations, and departed on his motorcycle.
Before the mission, Resper had told Maks that Michael was on a personal quest to locate fellow brothers of the book he believed to still be present in Manhattan. Resper, knowing Michael’s excellent record in Memphis, and later the Carolinas and Georgia, decided to back him and make it an official DIA mission.
DeAngelo Pratt, the group’s driver/mechanic, approached Maks later. “Glad that asshole is gone, Colonel. On the ship, and ashore, he kept calling me ‘Elsie‘. I told him, he call me that one more time, and I was gonna lay him out. I kept an eye on him, but was rebalancing the Humvee loads when he had the camera out.”
I had Stella and Pratt make Formidable: Observation rolls. Pratt failed, Stella passed. She watches everybody.
This is our campaign play of Twilight 2000 module Armies of the Night.
Later that morning, Stella returned with another woman.
“Maks, you asked me if there were any human scum you could evict from a neighborhood, to make your base of operations. Well, there’s no shortage of that of course, but I have something else in mind for you.
“This is Rhonda Lowery. She’s the boss of a Rover team. And she’s got some serious trouble. She’s good people. You help her, you’ll be good people in my book, and can stay with the 14th St Westers for the duration.”
“… one of the best rovers on Manhattan. Alone or with a small team, she has explored a number of New York’s taller buildings and seems to have a nose for lost stashes of food or equipment in the most unlikely places. She is young (20) and pretty, with a sharp mind and a fierce determination to succeed. Her knowledge of Manhattan will make her an excellent guide.” -Armies of the Night, page 44
Properly introduced, Lowery explained her predicament.
She had a team exploring Madison Square Garden. They’d blasted some debris blocking their way. The building must have been more fragile than they estimated, because the massive roof collapsed in a chain reaction. Most of her team is OK, but trapped.
She’s equipped for the rescue op, a team spooled up, but snipers atop the nearby One Penn tower and the somewhat shorter Hotel Pennsylvania are preventing her team from approaching.
The sniper teams appear to be coordinated, communicating by radio in the clear, but using code words. This is way too sophisticated and focused to be gangbangers, Lowery said. The snipers roam the roofs of both towers, taking shots at anybody approaching the wreckage of the Madison Square Garden.
Lowery suspects that they are deniable harassment sent by Hizzonner The Mayor. There’d been trouble between them. The Mayor claims this area, but has no real control this far south. She warned Maks if they help her, they risk choosing sides.
Maks was nonplussed. Ever since the War started, he’d been choosing sides.
She also disclosed an interest in the 57-floor One Penn skyscraper. If the party clears it, the contractor performing that would normally be entitled to a share, a percentage of proceeds from the building’s recovered goods.
Most people on Manhattan seldom go above the 10th floor of any building. There’s no electricity, and no elevators on the island, and living high up requires hauling life’s necessities up grueling dark stairwells, growing increasingly unpleasant the higher one goes.
Climbing stairs is classed as hard work, with an extra fatigue level added for each five floors climbed without rest. -AotN, page 10
Maks was definitely intrigued at this point. He asked Rhonda how her teams got around town.
“We operate light, and fast. First, we have a plastic grocery cart strapped in front of each of our vehicles. Even the dimmest understand that means we’re merchants, and cut us some slack. Some will cause trouble anyway.
“Our next step: Candy Bars. We have cases and cases of them from salvage operations. We scatter candy behind us, and that’ll stop even the most hardened pursuers.
“If that fails, then it’s bullets.”
Lowery warned him, “Just ’cause somebody takes a pot shot at you doesn’t mean you have to hose them down, Colonel. It could be some local warning us off.”
“Keep moving. Don’t stop to finish a fight.”
Maks nodded. They got to planning routes as Rhonda annotated a map. Green in the southwest quadrant represented the somewhat-friendly 14th St Westers. Pink zone to the north indicated a Wild West area of numerous small gangs and defense militias.
“Exercise restraint, Colonel. Decent people do live there.”
North up the shoreline could be seen the territory of the Hudson Vikings and allied gangs, plus red “X‘s” of other areas known to be violently hostile. A couple of areas were marked with friendly enclaves in yellow.
A Twilight 2000 adventure isn’t complete without rolling for rumors.
Here are the two rumors Maks heard:
If you need weapons, there’s a story that this place called Rosie’s Bar, up in Harlem, had a huge stash of them before the war. Yeah! The story goes that this bunch of Marxist revolutionaries used Rosie’s as a hideout and kept the guns they stole from some National Guard Armory there. People have been up there looking. It’s supposed TO be on Lenox, somewheres. But that’s a bad, bad place to go. The Mau Maus, you know …
You know, the Mayor doesn’t run his little kingdom at all. The real power behind the throne is that renegade merc he’s got working for him-Snyder. He’s pullin’ the strings on the Mayor like a puppet.