Running Delta Green: Gathering the Magic

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Sue Savage

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Time for another game of Delta Green, and this time I decided to try out another of Jake "ChiefMcCLane" Cook's scenarios: Gathering the Magic.

The team met up with Agent Chung again, who seemed about as pleased to see them as they were to see her, reminding them of how she'd had to cover up the murder of the professor in the haunted house. She had a new assignment for them though. A college student had bought a book from a honeytrap website run by the Program. Their job was to find out if there was anything unnatural going on or if he was just a teenage edgelord trying to be cool. They were supplied with a dummy book, a UPS uniform and a van.

Rather than head straight there, Avocado did some research. They learned that their subject, Timothy Michaels, was a computer science student at Princeton, and appeared to be a mega nerd. He lived with his parents rather than on campus. His browser history consisted largely of visiting Reddit, where he was a member of /r/atheism, /r/mtg/ and other nerd things. Nothing flagged up as suspicious in his background. The only out of the ordinary thing was a recent hospital admission.

It was time to pay a visit. Crusty, with his good HUMINT skills, was chosen to make the delivery, and managed to convince Timothy to come out to the van for a chat. He was quite willing to talk, and explained that he had to take the book to the Magic: The Gathering tournament he was going to the following evening. He seemed a bit confused about why, but mentioned that he'd been taken to the hospital for amnesia, although he was sure he was fine now.

Clearly Timothy was not a problem, but someone at the Magic tournament probably was. Time to check out the Friendly Local Game Shop.

It was early evening when they arrived, and games were in full swing. They were welcomed in by the owner, who enthusiastically showed them around. Avocado took a particular interest in both the X-Wing miniatures and the very high quality security cameras.

He told them it was D&D night, and when asked if it was only D&D, assured them that they had both kinds of roleplaying there - D&D and Pathfinder. Yu-Gi-Oh was on Tuesdays, and Friday was the magic tournament. Unfortunately he couldn't invite them to play as it was final and everything was already set. Who was the favourite to win? That would be David Kaley.

They left the shop and did some more research. The shop owner checked out, having been running the place for ten years. The tournament checked out too - an official Magic Grand Prix with a $35,000 prize and guest referees brought in specially.

David Kaley, on the other hand, was a fake. Crusty and Avocado between them tracked down his real identity: Daniel Thompson. Running a few checks they found a couple of tangentially related police reports, one about his father who was missing and one about a possible marijuana growhouse at his address that had never been followed up on.

They decided to pay Daniel a visit. It was dark by the time they arrived, but they could still see that there was less snow on one side of the roof than the other. Avocado had a sudden brainwave.

"That's not a growhouse. That's a server farm."

Buzz got out his infra-red camera and noticed that while the outside of the house appeared to be in darkness, through the camera it was brightly lit up. There had to be infra-red emitters all over the place, probably from security cameras with night vision.

Nobody answered the door when they knocked, and Avocado opened the door to a hideous sight - empty pizza boxes and takeaway cartons as far as the eye could see, an appalling stink of rotten food, and something moving in the layers of filth. Bones threw up immediately.

Crusty did a sweep of the house, finding the remains of a dead body on the dining table, a server farm in the office, and a dead german shepherd in the bedroom. No sign of Daniel. A more systematic search located some eldritch looking carvings of interlocking circles on the dining table, and a gaming rig and a bucket of silver jewellery on the table in the bedroom.

Avocado investigated the technology, easily identifying a crypto-currency mining operation. He shut down the security and took a look at the cameras. Daniel had been here shortly before they arrived, watching an episode of Star Trek TOS and eating a pizza. Looking further back through the archives he noticed something strange: Daniel appeared to have arrived at the house significantly more frequently than he'd left it.

There was something strange about one wall of the office. A slight shimmer. In the interests of science, Buzz got out a pencil and poked it. The pencil went straight through. Avocado tried with an endoscope, and saw that on the other side of the wall there appeared to be a library.

Everyone piled through.

They were in a room full of very old books, that looked like they weren't often disturbed. However, they had been disturbed, and a dust-free patch showed where something had recently been removed. There was no sign of Daniel, so they had a look at the card catalogue and concluded that the missing book was one called Livre D'Ivon.

Avocado checked his GPS to see where they were. Two states away, in Northampton, Massachusets. Buzz was very excited. The time on their phones suggested that they had travelled pretty much instantly. With an atomic clock he could determine exactly how fast they had travelled.

The portal they had come through could not be found, however, and they still hadn't got hold of Daniel. They called Agent Chung to request a car so they could drive back to Princeton. She was somewhat sarcastic, but did send someone to pick them up. They quietly exited Smith College, doing their best to look inconspicious despite being four men currently disguised as nerds trying to sneak out of a women's college.

A librarian met them, and quickly explained that she would not be driving them back. She was just dropping off the car for them. She got out, leaving them the key, and they began the long drive back to Princeton.

It was past midnight when they got back, but rather than attempt to sleep (never an easy matter for Crusty) they decided to have another go at finding Daniel. This time he was at home, deeply immersed in a game of Call of Duty. Crusty gave him a punch in the face, and when he reached for a revolver that he had concealed in the piles of junk on the desk, he was immediately shot dead.

Crusty set into motion his next plan, which was to burn down the house, and began sprinkling petrol around the living room. And then they heard a sound. The sound of burning, even though they hadn't set a fire yet.

A living column of flame emerged from the office, and lashed out at Bones with flaming appendages. It missed him, and Avocado grabbed a fire extinguisher to try to stop it, but failed to aim it correctly. Everyone decided it was time to leave the house.

The petrol went up shortly afterwards and the place was rapidly completely ablaze. However, there was still sign of movement in there. The living flame was still present. They called Agent Chung - could she dispatch a friendly fire engine?

A team of fire fighters showed up shortly afterwards and the blaze was quenched. There was no sign of the living flame.

Back home, Crusty decided he really did need to get some therapy this time, but Bones and Buzz had both been intrigued by the things they had seen and decided to do some research, Bones into ifrits once he realised what he'd seen in the house, and Buzz into how Daniel had created the gate. He found answers in a very interesting book.

Avocado, looking for a bit of normality for once, went home, met up with his business partner, and actually did some work.

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