The group will have no definite course of action to undertake 'til they hear from Adam again and know on what day he'll be able to take the girl out of the city.
Mac has outfitted one of the HMMWVs to burn methanol and the stuff is dirt cheap in Krakow, thanks to the busy factories and robotniki. The three soldiers take a drive around the city, on the lookout for any possible locations outside the old city that might be defendable and secure as a base camp.
While driving around, the idea pops up to create a stash of fuel somewhere outside of Krakow. Two hundred litres seems like a good amount, enough to refill both of the tanks in the HMMWVs, with a little left over. A 200 litre drum of methanol is purchased, as well as enough spare in the jerrycans for a 200 click round trip. Szczucin lies about 100 kilometres to the north and east of Krakow, and it is decided to make a stash just before that town.
The soldiers drive out in the methanol fueled HMMWV without incident, and set to digging. A flock of wild sheep are spotted during the evening, and as Meathook and Dogmeat are digging at the time, it falls to Mac to see if he can bag dinner. Given the favourable supply situation of the group at present, Mac pumps a full clip from his LSW into the flock. Luck is not with him, and only one of the sheep is killed. A good clean headshot, though.
Mac drags it back and it is decided to camp out for the night and eat then, rather than driving back with dark approaching.
Late the next afternoon, the soldiers are back in Krakow. A merchant convoy is passed on the way back, but ignored, as whatever they were selling would be available in Krakow, anyhow.
The surplus of sheep flesh is given to a street vendor in exchange for turning a portion of it into a meal.
The group decide to take another drive around outside the old city, and this time find a nice looking spot to set up camp. The sports stadium. It lies in a mostly abandoned area at the south of the city - on the far side of the Wisla river, which runs through Krakow. This land would be the first place to fall if the city were attacked, so is sparsely populated.
A dead end loading area leading into a large open parking garage makes a good spot to put the vehicles. That afternoon is spent bringing the vehicles over from the old city, and setting up. Claymore mines are placed to block the entrance to the loading tunnel containing the vehicles. Meathook uses the portable laser range finder and a tin of paint to mark out kill zones in the parking garage fanning out from the tunnel entrance.
Mac continues to work on making the place homely while Meathook and Dogmeat head back in to the old city to check for news. In Nasz Towarzysz - the less exclusive bar - Adam shows up, eager to talk to the soldiers. He explains that he will be able to get Marian out of Krakow the following night, and wants the party to bring her father to Slomniki - about 30 clicks north of Krakow, abandoned.
Reconnaissance performed by the group so far suggest that there should be no trouble in getting the father out of Krakow. He is the proprietor of a furniture store, and the simple plan is to drive up to the store at closing time, present him with a note and a token from his daughter, and have him hide in the back of the HMMWV while the group passes out of the old city.
Indeed, to that end the soldiers had already been to the furniture shop with the shredded driver and gunner's seats from the BMP-B, and dropped them off to be repaired.
Dogmeat and Meathook walk back to the stadium. Along the way they realise they are being followed by some gangers. Dogmeat only has a pistol for show, but Meathook has his M16 with underbarrel M203 - having judged the M60 a little too overkill for bringing out drinking. Dogmeat and Meathook keep walking, and get on the radio to Mac. It takes Mac about 15 minutes to undo the claymores and swing around to their location, and although the gangers have increased in number by the time Mac arrives, they haven't yet taken any action. The three soldiers drive off in the HMMWV with a wave, and take a circuitous route back to the stadium.
July 24th, and the group spend the day just hanging about the stadium. Meathook just explores, and the three take it easy. That evening, the plan to grab Marian's father goes off without a hitch. He reads the note and takes the necklace, then quickly packs his possessions. He locks up his shop normally, and hides on the floor of the back seats of the HMMWV as it passes out of the old city. There are no more checkpoints on the way back to the stadium.
A couple of hours are once more spent idling before it is time to head north to Slomniki. It's only a short drive there, which again passes without incident. The main square is the meeting place, with a central, no longer functional, fountain.
The HMMWV is parked to overlook the square, and Mac and Meathook cover the approaches with M60s. Dogmeat watches the road from Krakow through the thermal sight from a sniper rifle. A beat up heap of a car soon chugs into the square. Marian and Adam disembark, and Marian's father runs up to meet her. All is well so far.
Adam explains that Dogmeat's brother is a member of a local band of partisans, and that he has arranged to meet them here. The soldiers resume their watch, and soon enough a band of horse riders are seen and heard to approach from the east. They approach the square cautiously, but Marcus calls out for his brother and Dogmeat replies back from his sniping position on a rooftop.
Greetings are exchanged.
Marcus is badly scarred and burned down one side of his face, the accident that led to his supposed death. He found himself doing odd jobs for the CIA in and around Krakow, which led him into contact with free Polish partisans, and in turn his wife from amongst them. He is happy where he is. Dogmeat explains that he and guys aren't deserters, and that the last orders they received were to fend for themselves.
The whole group sets out for the partisan's HQ, a nearby ruined castle. Along the way, a large group of Soviet men and vehicles are spotted, a patrol, or maybe looking for the partisans. The partisans flee for the tree line, and manage to get away just as the first mortar rounds are being dropped on their former location.
The partisans agree to purchase the BMP-B from the guys for forty thousand dollars, in gold. They're well off enough that they're able to pay a fair price, and the group are glad to sell to anyone who'll be using it to stick it to the Commies.
Mac, Dogmeat and Meathook decide to just stay in Krakow for a time. It's safe and stable. A couple of partisans return with them, and pick up the vehicle and some supplies.
On their return, a bloody smear on the ground and a detonated claymore show that someone was poking around. Meathook figures it might be a good idea to have a warning sign.
The soldiers secure their location some more, and rest for a week. The radios in the HMMWVs have a 25km range, so it is decided to broadcast for any NATO soldiers who might be able to hear it, to meet up in Krakow.
The group have their own methanol still, with a fairly meager output, but enough to keep a small generator running, which, in turn, is enough to keep the radio running.
Almost inevitably, Krakow's only public radio station is born, blasting out all the rock and roll (from any of the 6 cassettes from the HMMWVs) that Krakow can handle. It helps to keep up morale, and Meathook - finding yet more use for his salvaged paint - advertises the frequency on the side of the HMMWVs for when the group are driving about town.
Broadcasts are more frequent in the evenings, when some after dinner drinks have been consumed, but the basic purpose of letting any allied soldiers know there are friendlies around is still there.
Some scrounged cassettes double the musical repertoire of the station, and near 24 hour polka becomes the flavour of the day.
Time is spent improving surroundings and making the area more secure. Mac finds and repairs an old sit-in lawn mower, and refits it to burn methanol. The grass on the football pitch is cut, and the mulch used for yet more methanol.
During the week, some gangers show up in the stadium. One of the partisans is present to pick up the BMP-B, and is able to translate. It seems that the party are on the ganger's turf, and that one of their members 'got killed' when they came here to play football.
Got killed while poking around, more like - but the group play it friendly. These guys don't look like they could assault the soldier's position by force, but allies are better.
A couple of rifles are handed over by way of reparation for the dead gang member, and it is eventually explained that the group have vehicle repair and medical skills that may be useful to the gang. An agreement of some sort is made, without any clear terms, but Dogmeat and the gang leader shake on it.
A few days later, some of the gang members show up with a beat up civilian car, some scrap metal and a light machine gun. They have already cut a hole in the roof of the car, and it seems that they would like Mac to sort out some sort of roof mount for the gun. Mac breaks out the welding gear, and has the job done in no time. He even goes as far as to throw in a tune-up, which earns him half a bottle of Scotch from one of the gang members.
A few days later and the car is back, this time screeching in to the parking garage. Meathook patches up the wounded, while one of the gang members who has a little English explains. It seems that a rival gang had moved against them, not liking this new strength (by way of being allies of the soldiers). The rivals were seen off.
About a week thus passes, at the end of which the group are returning from Slomniki in the methanol fueled HMMWV after dropping off some supplies for the partisans, and meeting Marcus' wife.
Up ahead, coming from the road, smoke is spotted. A line of vehicles sit abandoned in the road, pointed towards Krakow. When the US markings are spotted through the binoculars, the group rush forward. Dogmeat scouts on foot, while the others cover from the HMMWV. Papers are blowing everywhere, and dead litter the ground. The vehicles seem to have been stripped for every potentially useful component.
Some of the dead are lined up against a wall, or in a group in clear ground, on their own. It looks like any survivors were executed.
It looks like an ambush from both sides by men and vehicles, and tracks play this out.
A groan from under a bush and behind a wall brings Dogmeat running. An American Lieutenant is alive, barely. Meathook rushes to administer to him, and the Lt. grabs Dogmeat and splutters orders with urgency..
'..Operation: Reset.. Must get them through..'
He passes in and out of consciousness.
'..Sgt. Cutter.. with the captain.. they didn't get fired upon..'
'..Operation: Reset.. vital plans.. everyone will want them..'
Meathook does his best, but Lt. Schaeffer is fading fast.
'..Coming in from Lodz.. ambush.. executed the survivors..'
He seems to become delirious.
'..Damnedest thing, had one of them as a child..'
'..Get the papers, DIA needs it bad.. DIA/CIA/KGB will want them..'
'..Get the papers, they are what matter..'
'..Get them to.. ..'
And the Lieutenant dies.
Papers are everywhere, they seems to be some sort of technical drawings, and in Polish. They mean nothing to any of the soldiers. There are a pile of smashed open lockers, from which the papers are blowing around. It seems likely that some finished product has been stolen. The group gather up all the papers they can find, and also come across a roll of film, fully exposed. More plans, it is supposed.
The lead vehicle is examined, and hasn't been riddled with bullets as the rest have. It looks like the passengers were killed at close range by someone inside the vehicle, and as the body of a captain is found, it is assumed that this Sgt. Cutter is responsible.
The dead are piled on to the trailer that the group had used to transport the supplies north, and the group head back to Krakow. Dogmeat and Meathook spend the evening and some of the night digging a grave in one corner of the grassy area inside the stadium. The dead are buried there, and Meathook erects a cross, to which is nailed the green beret of the dead Lt. Schaeffer.
The papers are all arranged as best as the group can manage. But still no sense can be made of them. Mac doesn't have any initial luck in finding anyone able to develop the reel of film, or in finding a camera that the group might make a more portable backup of all these papers.
It is the morning of the 2nd of August '00 in war torn south eastern Poland, and the three soldiers are still wondering what the hell is Operation:Reset, and what to do about it.
|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)|