Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Terror Network Episode 8

Episode 8: Operation Hydra Den

September 15th 2010

After the successful attack on the Dallas Federal Reserve Building, the United States military began formulating plans for an immediate strike against the terrorist most responsible for the carnage, Muhammed Abaza. However, it was quickly learned that Abaza was extremely smart and that he would difficult to track down.

Around this same time, information was being processed by the C.I.A. that explicitly stated that a secret mine was being utilized by one of Abaza's companies in the mountains of Saudi Arabia. The reports chronicled how uranium was being extracted from this secret mine and that Abaza would obviously use this against the U.S. if ever given the possibility.

So, instead of the assassination mission that everyone hoped to receive, the Delta team, lead by Lee, was called in and told to stop the uranium extraction and to retrieve three laptops that contained information about the mine, Abaza's networks, and most likely Abaza's current whereabouts. With a curt salute, Lee gathered his team together and they headed to Saudi Arabia to meet with one of their contacts.

Once in country, the group met up with their contact who informed them of the local climate for Islamists, the uranium mine, and the Cobra terror cell located within the city. After spending a brief period at the contacts safe-house the group went to the local marketplace in an attempt to gather some knowledge.
While in the market-place Lee (a PC) and Jim Kardson (a PC) attempted to convince an older arms dealer to give up some information about the local Cobra terror cell. The man grew suspicious and told them to go away. After a few ours of wandering the marketplace the group went back to the safe house where they began calling in favors from past contacts. It took a number of calls but finally a corrupt Syrian businessman that Jim had once run a sting operation against was able to give the group some good intel on the Cobra cell's location. The Syrian told the group that there was a warehouse near the edge of town that was used by the cell and that more info could probably be gleaned from there.

Later that night, the group drove up to the warehouse and noticed that it was surrounded by a 10 foot chain link fence and had an armed guard at the main entrance. After some tactical conversation the group was soon on a hill overlooking the rear of the mammoth structure and was searching for any signs of movement. Not seeing much, at around 2:00 a.m. the group cautiously repelled down the face of the hill and silently made their way towards four vehicles that were parked in the rear part of the building. As they advanced Lee (who was on point) noticed that one of the docking bay doors was opening. Raising his silenced Beretta he fired a round through the head of a teenage guard that unluckily strolled out the door and he dropped to the ground. Not knowing who or what might be inside, Lee lead the group through the open loading bay door.

Inside the group took cover behind one of the many stacks of crates and boxes. The only movement that the group saw came from the a forklift that was being operated by what appeared to be a fifty-year old man. The group spread out and began searching for any sings of terrorist activity.
Moments later Sarah Walker (a PC) radioed to the rest of the group that she was viewing three armed men guarding the manager's office at the far side of the warehouse. When the rest of the group arrived seconds later they witnessed a man walk out of the office, talk with the three guards for a few minutes, and then return back into the room. Trey Nation (a PC) was unsure if the man in the office was Nusair Hadad, the leader of the Cobra cell.

Using only hand signals, the group prepared their ambush. Seconds later, two of the three guards lay on the ground, alive but neutralized, while the third guard lay dead; a silenced pistol round to the head ending his life. While the dead guard lay twitching Lee and Jim stormed the office door. Lee kicked the door open while Jim tossed a flash-bang inside.

When the two men re-emerged from the office, Lee had one of the three assigned laptops tucked under his armpit and Jim had the prone body of Nusair Hadad over his shoulder. The group couldn't believe their fortune and quickly made their way back to the loading bay. Before loading their new cargo into one of the parked vehicles, the driver of the forklift was also hit with a high-powered tranquiler dart and left on the warehouse floor.

An hour outside of town the group began to interrogate their high-priority suspect. Although initially uncooperative, Nusair gave up the location the GPS coordinates of the uranium mine after being promised his safe release and a ride back to town. Unfortunately for him, by the time the sun came up that morning his corpse was already being dismembered by the local animals and incests...

After using Lee's satphone to update HQ, Trey drove the group towards the secret uranium mine in their newly-stolen truck. While the truck was nearing the mine it was forced to inch along as it traveled up a narrow rocky incline. While the rest of the group was sleeping Trey tried his best to drive cautiously, however, he ran over a spike-belt and the vehicle skidded towards the cliff's edge. Trey was able to keep the truck from crashing down the side of the mountain only by slamming on the brakes and spinning the wheel recklessly.

Now alert, Lee ordered everyone out and to keep their eyes peeled for the enemy. After searching for a few minutes, Trey and Sarah decided to climb the cliff face a bit to see if they could get a better vantage point while Lee and Jim advanced down 'the road'.

Sarah was the first to reach level ground and she paused to catch her breath. As she raised her canteen to take a swig she was struck in the thigh by a 7.62 x 54mm round that severed her femoral artery. Clutching at her spurting injury, Sarah used her belt as a tourniquet while crying out for assistance. Trey ignored her pleas and pulled her behind a small rock formation by her assault harness.

While Trey was tending to Sarah, Lee and Jim were advancing and looking for the sniper. Lee peered through his scope and detected the sniper in a small structure that was created and painted to look like a large rock among hundreds of others. Lee began to fire off three round bursts at the sniper while Jim moved forward into a defilade and began to climb upwards towards the killers perch.

Lee kept up continuous suppressive fire while Jim continued to climb towards the sniper. When he finally pulled himself up onto flat ground, Jim lay behind a large rock, pulled the pins off of a fragmentation grenade, and tossed it where he believed the sniper was hiding. Seconds later a loud explosion went off and when the smoke cleared Jim could see a large pool of blood on the ground and on the rock behind where he believed the shooter to be. Not taking any chances, Jim threw a second grenade, watched it explode, and cautiously moved forward.

As Jim peeked his head around the corner he spotted two different sets of body parts with and a single AK-74 and Dragunov sniper rifle; both of which were obviously inoperable. "Sniper neutralized," he said over the head-set. For the first time in minutes, Sarah Walker let out a sigh of relief and grunted in pain as she continued to help Trey attempt to staunch her bleeding.

After patching up Sarah Walker the group made its way up the remainder of the mountain "road" without any more fanfare. The trucks deflated tires made the trip noisy and slow-going but Lee thought it better than humping it over the mountains in unfamiliar terrain.

When the party was within eye-sight of the cave entrance they hide and turned-off their stolen truck. Their was only one guard who was smoking and staring aimlessly into the distance. It wasn't long before the guard was on the ground and was being drug behind a rock outcropping so that his corpse was out of sight. The group took a collective breath and they entered the mouth of the cave. Trey took point as he was the only one in the group who had night-vision. What he saw was nothing but a large opening that seemed to continue downwards for miles.

After walking for a few minutes Trey spotted a dead end with an elevator leading down. With no other options, the group piled into the old mechanical ladder, and waited with bated breath as it slowly ground its way down into the subterrainian chamber.

When Sarah opened the doors of the elevator the group moved forward with purpose. They moved down the long hallway with weapons sighted and with fingers on triggers.
Eventually the hallway lead to a room with a closed metal door. The group stacked themselves, and on the count of three, entered the room. Inside were two men wearing military uniforms and a third man wearing a lab coat over his uniform. Two of the men were obviously armed guards and the third was a scientist of some type. Without thinking the group fired on the two guards killing them, but the scientist was able to retrieve his sidearm and fire a round into Jim's chest before he was cut down by a burst of fire. Lee bandaged Jim as best as he could and the group pressed on.

They came across other rooms but they were all vacant. As the party moved deeper into the cave they could hear a mechanical whirling noise.

The group continued down hallways and went through numerous rooms, all of which appeared to have been used recently, but did not find anyone. This even included a long rectangular room that was filled with empty bunks. However, the deeper inside of the structure that they went,the loud whirring noise that they heard earlier continued to grow louder. Sarah Walker checked her radiation scanner and it was reporting that the radiation levels were increasing with every step into the mine.

The group came to another large metal door. It seemed as though the loud noises were coming from the room ahead. The group readied their weapons and prepared themselves for whatever lay ahead.

Trey opened the heavy door and the rest of the group poured in the room. There were scientists wearing lab coats, men dressed in camouflage fatigues with weapons, and one man dressed in Middle Eastern garb near the fall wall. The room itself was filled with computers, and chart boards, and large machines that were so loud they were almost deafening.
Without hesitation the group opened fire and tore into the bodies scattered throughout the room. Scores dropped before they even knew what was happening. However, while stitching a three round burst into a guard, Jim caught a glimpse of a man running towards a room on the far side of the room was sure that he was sure was the second terror leader, Asad. Jim fired and hit around the man but did not hit him as he dove for safety into an attached room.

While the group expertly eliminated most targets almost immediately; a few were able to return fire. One especially large guard took three rounds to his chest but did not drop. Instead, while bleeding profusely from his chest, he trained his AK-74 assault rifle and fired. Trey Nation had just entered the room and was scanning for targets whenever the guards AK rounds tore into his chest and stomach. Trey was pushed off of his feet and clasped his hands over this wounds. Seconds later he was unconscious and Sarah Walker stopped firing to attempt to save his life.
The large guard who had just shot Trey was finished off by a blast from Jim, who along with Lee, had grabbed Kalashnikovs off of the ground and were moving for cover.

The noise from the machines was still mind-numbing and the sounds of the high-velocity weapons could barely be heard over their mechanical whirring. However, Lee did not need his sense of hearing to become insanely afraid as Asad walked out of the small attached room with a RPG launcher over his right shoulder.

As Asad methodically marched out of the room he began to lower his weapon in the direction of Lee and Jim who were using a bank of computers to block his view. As Asad pointed his RPG in their direction the two men popped up over the computer desk and fired. The heavy rounds burst through his chest, throat and head. As his lifeless body dropped to the cement floor, he pulled the trigger to his RPG and the rocket shot out of the launcher.

Luckily for the group, the rocket-propelled grenade slammed into a the wall of the room but did not explode because it did not have enough time to properly arm itself.

After breathing a huge sigh of relief, Jim went over to where Sarah was working on bandaging Trey's wounds. Jim assisted the medical process while Lee walked cautiously towards the room where Asad had just emerged from. Inside the small room Lee found the two remaining laptops - the mission was now complete.

With Trey's unconscious body slung over Jim's shoulder, and with the two newly acquired laptops in Lee's combat pack, the group began to make their way out of the cave complex. They moved much slower than on their way in, but now they knew that the mission was almost over, the excitement level was almost palatable.

Sarah pulled down the level on the elevator and slowly it began to raise upwards. Seconds later, the elevator came to a stop and the group disembarked. As they walked out of the cave complex for the last time Lee, the man on point, had to do a double-take to make sure that his eyes were not playing tricks on him. Up ahead, in the passenger seat of an over-sized white cargo van was Muhammad Abaza himself. He was getting back into the middle section of the van while a man in the passenger seat noticed Lee at about the same time that Lee noticed him. The man in the passenger seat had his M11/9 submachine gun hanging out of the window and was able to draw first and fire a long burst in the area of the group.

Jim, with Trey over his shoulder, dove for cover while Sarah and Lee fired back at the gunmen. Simultaneously, Muhammad Abaza slammed the middle cargo door shut and the van's tires began to spin as the driver gunned the engine. Rocks, sand, and other debris was flung everywhere. Ignoring everything else, Lee lined up the van's right rear tire in his sights and squeezed the trigger. The round hit its intended target and a loud bang rang out. Although the tire immediately deflated the van continued to pick up traction and sped down the mountain.

Lee yelled for the rest of the group to stay put while he ran to get the group's hidden vehicle. Almost five minutes later he pulled up and the group either jumped in or was laid down in the rear of the team's 'borrowed' van. Lee floored the accelerator and took the group down the mountain road. As Lee drove the van with its flat tires around a windy turn he saw a large set of headlights coming up the mountain road towards them. Lee, a military brat and soldier all his life, knew that the headlights that were coming towards them were not from Abaza's cargo van but were instead from some type of military truck.

Lee slammed down on the brakes as there was no way around them on the narrow mountain road/path. Slowly he began to back up their van but the headlights of the oncoming vehicle continued getting closer much faster than they were moving in reverse. As Lee turned the van around the corner at the crest of the mountain the speeding military truck crashed into them and flipped the group's van over on its side.

Jim was the first one to come to. Shaking his head he checked for Lee's vital signs and he was knocked out completely.

Jim pecked out over the top of the driver's side door and could see that there was a driver and five soldiers in the back of the military truck.
"What the f#@% was a Saudi National Guard military truck doing up here in a secret terrorist mining facility?" he wondered to himself. However, there was no time to waste. The five soldiers in the rear of the truck were disembarking and were obviously coming for them. Jim, remembering that the group was specifically warned not to come into contact with any official Saudis, and seeing no other way out with the rest of his comrades unconscious from severe wounds, pulled the pin of his last fragmentation grenade and lobbed it into the center of the mass of Saudi soldiers.

The National Guardsmen never even saw it. The grenade went off and killed all five of the men outside of the truck instantly. The truck's engine caught fire and quickly consumed the rest of the truck. A box of RPG rounds in the rear of the military truck went off and the vehicle was lifted off the ground. The driver never made it out of the door.

Jim breathed a sigh of relief. He inhaled deeply and began to shake Lee awake.
Ten minutes later the group, with Trey over Jim's shoulder, called command and called for an immediate extraction. While headquarters was happy with the complete success of the mission they were pissed about the Saudi National Guard presence. Lee didn't care, he just wanted to get home. The mission was over, but the hunt for Abaza most certainly was not...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Operation Hydra Den Module

This module tells/chronicles the follow-up to the attack on Dallas that was described in the prequel module Operation Hydra. In Bedrock Games' Operation Hydra Den (from now on referred to as OHD) the heroes are tasked with tracking down two Muhammad Abaza cells that are mining uranium in the mountains of Saudi Arabia in the hopes to attack the U.S. or her interests a second time in a more lethal fashion.

In their effort to track down the two cell commanders and three encrypted laptops full of intelligence on Abaza the players investigate leads in two very different Saudi Arabian cities and the uranium mine itself.

OHD gives an extensive and wonderfully accurate glimpse into Saudi Arabian culture and society as well as artfully describing different locations, persons, and events that the heroes may or may not contact during their mission. I found the NPCs to be lifelike enough and the events that the heroes could trigger were extremely interesting and unique. (So much so that the ones that my players didn't contact will certainly be used in future missions/adventures.)

The only negative critique that I feel comfortable airing is similar to the complaint that I had with Operation Hydra. I must be a visual person (which is paradoxical I know since I'm describing a role-playing game module) but I feel that it would be extremely beneficial if the module included a (or a couple of possible) timeline(s) of events that the players may follow. I again solved this problem by simply re-reading the text a few times and then manually drawing out possible scenarios that the players might follow, but again, it seems to me that this would be advantageous to others as well.

Just like with Operation Hydra, I believe that Bedrock Games hit the ball out of the park with OHD. OHD is a well researched, well articulated, and complete adventure that would fit nicely into any contemporary gaming system and would unquestionably be a great addition to any modern campaign. (Especially if you are are playing Terror Network!)

I highly recommend this product, and again, the price of this module cannot be beat. So what are you waiting for? Are you really going to let terrorists hostile to the United States of America mine illicit uranium and attack us on our soil? I didn't think so.