It is the evening of July 19th, and Mac, Dogmeat and Meathook are passing through a village not marked on their maps on the way to Krakow. The Geiger counters in the vehicles click a little faster than usual, but it seems to be coming from some factories outside of town. It is supposed that they probably got hit with a tactical nuke, when the nukes were still flying.
Dogmeat stands guard with the Mark-19 automatic grenade launcher atop the HMMWV used by himself and Meathook, the weapons atop the vehicles having been switched around earlier in the day.
Meathook gathers some pots and pans and hammer and nails and any junk he can lay his hands on. Mac has a rummage in the cellar of the church, and comes up with some plate and cups and things that look like gold.
A while later a small river presents the opportunity to refill canteens and jerrycans with water. The Geiger counter is clear, and it 'looks' clean, but it is resolved to boil the water before consumption.
Dogmeat spots what looks like a Soviet vehicle in the long grass ahead, and ushers the others back to the HMMWVs. Dogmeat scouts ahead on foot, but the vehicle is abandoned. It is a BMP-B, a tracked APC, amphibious. A fist sized hole in the armour plate on the side shows why the vehicle was abandoned. The anti tank missile laucher, the radio and all equipment are gone from the vehicle, but the 30mm autocannon is still there, and Mac even thinks he can get the engine running.
This figures to be worth the effort. It takes Mac about 4 hours, but he has the engine cleaned and repaired and running smoothly. The engine is outfitted to burn methanol, and has quite an appetite. Dogmeat and Meathook paint over the markings on the vehicle indicating that it belonged to Warsaw Pact forces, and the vehicle is christened 'Magenta'.
The night is spent with the man on watch supervising the boiling of the collected water.
The entirity of the party methanol supply, 8 jerrycans, is poured into the BMP-B, and the tank isn't even half full. Just about enough to get to Krakow, Mac figures. Meathook takes over the HMMWV that Mac was driving, and Mac takes the 'track.
Miechow and Slomniki, the last two towns on the way to Krakow are abandoned, and soon the three vehicles are rolling through the Krakow suburbs.
A checkpoint draws the vehicles to a stop. The soldier's uniforms are not familiar, and are marked with 'WK'. It is presumed that they are former men of the Polish 8th Motorized, the former city garrison, which just stayed put when Krakow declared itself free.
A soldier named Pavel is sent along with the vehicles to guide them to the old city, where papers can be arranged. It seems that there will be no problem with gaining entry to the city, or papers. Money does the talking in Krakow. Pavel explains that anyone not able to support themselves can work in the factories - it's quite a surprise that any place has factories running - as 'robotniki', some sort of slave worker, buying his citizenship.
The vehicles drive into the old part of the city, past a checkpoint in the old walls. The old streets aren't quite suited to an APC, but the group arrive at a market square. It's clear that the group aren't going to be a burden on the city, so they're granted papers without fuss. The old city is well patrolled by the ORMO, the former Polish 8th, under command of Major General Zygmunt Bohusz-Szyszko , although the 'ruler' of the city is a man named Dowodka, in the castle in the old city. Dowodka is well liked, and there is no noticeable tension.
Somewhere to sleep and somewhere to put the vehilces is sought. Pavel explains that the group are free to find whatever building or home they want outside the old city, that there's plenty of room, but some gang territory. The local currency is gold, of which the group have a good supply. Accumulated wages before things went bad. Or ration chits, good for one meal, or maybe three dollars.
Mac goes off to try to find an interpreter and somewhere to put the vehicles, and Meathook grabs some salvaged paint that the group have no immediate use for, and comes back having bartered for a cup of coffee and some bread.
Mac has found a vehicle repair garage that has agreed to house the vehicles. 50 dollars in gold per day, but it seems secure. The owner doesn't speak English, but arrangements are made through a temporary interpreter (a man who can speak English who is given an AK-74 to help out for a bit).
Another 30 dollars is paid for lodgings, and then it's time for a drink. Pavel pointed out two bars, one for officers of the ORMO and such, which some occasional cabaret, the other the pub he normally drinks in himself. Na Zdrowie and Nasz Towarzysz are their respective names.
The guys head to more expensive bar for dinner. Expensive, but worthwhile. As dinner is drawing to a close, the owner introduces himself. An American himself, but he's been in Krakow for a long time. They chat for a while, but Heinrich says that Dogmeat and Meathook are the only US forces in town. He says that his bar has somewhat of a reputation as an information clearing house, and that if they're looking for other people who have arrived in Krakow after Kalisz then checking here would be good, though it's probably too soon, as the group made good time.
A short while later another English speaker approaches Dogmeat. He appears to recognise Dogmeat, but still asks unsurely if he is talking to Marcus Dregg. Dogmeat's brother, thought to be dead. Igor is a local, and explains that he works for the local CIA presence in a small capacity as runner/messenger. Marcus Dregg appears to have been working in a similar capacity, up to several months ago. Igor doesn't want to remain talking too long, but says that he will contact Dogmeat again when he has had a chance to talk to higher-ups.
Then it's time to head down to Nasz Towarzysz, the more down to earth drinking establishment. This place is bustling, but the guys have nobody to talk to 'til Pavel and some friends show up. Pavel and one other - Vassily - speak English well enough to chat and share a few drinks. The newcomers lean a bit more about the politics and layout of the city. There's even a helicopter up at the castle, nicknamed the 'flying carpet'. The rotors are spun up once a week for show, impressive, as aviation grade fuel virtually doesn't exist any longer.
Other soldiers are drinking in the bar too. These are members of the WARTA, the castle guards - Dowodka's men. One of them approaches Dogmeat, and asks him is he the brother of Marcus Dregg. His name is Adam Vipalski, and he has a request to make. He can't talk now, but the group arrange to meet him in their lodgings later that evening.
Meathook stands guard in an alley with an M60, and radios up to the others when he spots Adam on his way, and that he is alone.
Adam tells his story. He is a member of the WARTA, the personal and castle guards for Dowodka. He works primarily as a bodyguard for Dowodka's mistress, and they have fallen in love. He has some 'friends' outside the city, and wants to escape with Marian to them. These 'friends' he says, will be able to put Dogmeat in contact with his brother, and would also be interested in paying a good price for the BMP-B that the group are currently trying to offload.
The complication is that Marian is an unwilling KGB informer, and her father's life would be in danger if she disappeared. Adam wants the guys to get Marian's father out of the city safely at the same time as he elopes with her.
Her father owns a furniture shop in the old city, he doesn't speak English. Adam doesn't suppose that he's under constant KGB surveillance, but doesn't know for sure. The group want time to think it over, but agree to put plans underway, to be ready for whatever day Adam informs them he'll be able to take Marian out of the city.
The next day is spent in repair of the BMP-B. Mac spends his day in the garage, and Meathook and Dogmeat wander over to ORMO HQ, which is on a hill outside the old city, and grab an engineer to value it, in case they decide to sell it to the ORMO instead of Adam's 'friends', who are - at best guess - free Polish partisans of some sort.
Later that evening, Igor shows up in Nasz Towarzysz and quick words are exchanged to arrange another meeting in the soldier's lodgings. The party keep Adam's proposal quiet, and Igor just explains a few things about the CIA presence in town. It is run by a man named Walter Donovan, who works in a munitions plant. His local name is Alexander Kosikovski. Igor had never met Marcus Dregg, but the fact that Dogmeat is a black American soldier with DREGG on his shirt caused him to enquire. Marcus used to do work for Donovan. Neither Igor nor Donovan have any specific proposal for the guys, just wishing for the present to make their presence known.
Igor gives general warnings to be wary of the KGB, and says he can be contacted through Heinrich at Nazdrowie. He also mentions 'Boss' Stanislaw as a name associated with local criminal activity.
With plenty to think upon, the three stranded soldiers settle down to sleep.
|Gaming Sessions of The Road to God Knows Where Campaign (Twilight:2000 1st Edition Fan Created)|
|Session 1 (18th - 19th July 2000) • Session 2 (19th - 21st July 2000) • Session 3 (22nd July - 2nd August 2000) Session 4 (3rd - 7th August 2000) • Session 5 (7th - 22nd August 2000)|