By Kenneth Scroggins, (c) 1999
The PC’s are divided into Three groups of pregenerated characters. Each group has a DG friendly about to become an agent (Together they will be Q-cell). The first group is three SPACOM personnel; a NRO Satellite Security Engineer, a NSA Satellite Communications Technician, and a DIA ARPA Science Analyst. The Second Group is one of NEST’s Operational Emergency Management Teams (OEMT); Team leader/Navy Pilot, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner/Inspector and Team Technician, and a Nuclear Demolitions Expert. The final group is the NASA Space Medicine Specialist, the USAAMRIID Biocontainment Commander, and the CDC Special Pathogens Branch Quarantine Director.
The mission (STS-Z-49) is a space shuttle launch from Vandenburg AFB in California. Atlantis has just completed a refit to whatever new standard NASA and DoD has come up with. STS-Z-49 involves the placement of MILSTAR-7 into a highly ecliptical polar orbit (the orbit released to the press and public) from whence it will transition to a Super Synchronous orbit (not released to the press or public). Two secondary experiments involve the Bioreactor Demonstration System (using the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria Piscicida to grow viruses) and the NEUROLABS SQUID Neural Induction Link to monitor the brainwaves of experimental animals like mice and the Astronauts.
The above is all new material and contains no spoilers for the printed scenario “The Killer Out of Space.” The same cannot be said for the remainder of this post.
PART ONE: CRASH
The launch goes well and the MILSTAR deployment is about to get underway when the Colour from Outer Space arrives. The NEUROLABS SQUID (using the Majestic-12 neurofilament technology discussed in another post) has broadcasted the Astronauts’ positon across time and space. When US Space Command activates MILSTAR-7’s Nuclear Power Unit for final deployment the Colour enters the Space Shuttle Atlantis to feed.
The first sign of a problem is when the Payload Specialist and the Manned Spaceflight Engineer are preparing to deploy MILSTAR-7. They see the Colour. The NASA Space Medicine Specialist at KSC Mission Control cannot help but notice the disturbance in stress indicators (already at high levels due to the impending spacewalk). At no time does the Colour appear on CCD video, although the Space Shuttles’ Dosimeters indicate a drastic rise in Gamma radiation.
US Space Command then gets several point failures from MILSTAR-7’s Nuclear Power Unit. The NASA Launch Commander calls up SPACOM and demands to know why his astronauts are being irradiated by their stupid orbiting chatroom. The plutonium fueled NPU seems to be utterly failing to generate power. This is due to the Colour devouring the raw radiation. This unearthly feeding also transforms the Plutonium into a new and unknown radioactive material.
After absorbing MILSTAR-7’s NPU, the Colour attacks the crew of Atlantis. NASA and SPACOM are forced to listen to the dying screams of the astronauts as radiation meters go off the scale. The only survivor is Flight Commander Gordon McAfee. Lt Col. McAfee, panic-stricken, mistakenly initiates the de-Orbit OMS burn too early for a Pacific splashdown. SPACOM and NASA hastily calculate a RMS burn to stabilize the reentry for a touchdown in Gove County, Kansas in five hours. Route 23 is chosen as the emergency landing strip. NASA Ph.Ds debate whether or not to automate the landing.
It is at this time that SPACOM personnel should inform the Nuclear Emergency Search Team of the situation. NEST will scramble both of her CLEAR DAY Harriers to Gove County. SPACOM protocols also require that Col Coffey’s BLUE FLY be deployed to secure MILSTAR-7. NRO DELTA personnel will also be sent along with BLUE FLY in order to secure the SQUID/NIL technology.
As the Colour passes through the Van Allen belt and the Earth’s magnetic field at a rapid rate, it gains a tremendous electromagnetic charge. As NEST Harriers fly to begin grid scanning behind Atlantis’ approach vector, and BLUE FLY’s squadrons of C-147s, paratroops, and aerially dropped heavy equipment rain down on the Kansas wheat fields, the Colour detonates a vast Electromagnetic Pulse over the American Midwest. This sets off SPACOM’s NDD sensors, indicating a nuclear weapon strike. SAC/NORAD immediately goes to DEFCON Two. It is up to SPACOM to prevent NORAD from going to DEFCON One and starting a nuclear war.
The EMP drives McAfee and his SQUID/NIL equipped brain totally insane. The brilliance of the Colour also blinds him. The EMP shorts out much of Atlantis’ communication gear, making an automated landing impossible. Power grids across much of the Central USA go down. BLUE FLY Aircraft suffer 50% casualties as disabled aircraft plummet into the ground. Although BLUE FLY is shielded from EMP, the systems are far from perfect. Some fail and NRO DELTA takes heavy losses. The NEST aircraft survive with most systems intact, as does MILSTAR-7 (except for its NPU).
In order to remotely land Atlantis in one piece, SPACOM and NASA must link the NEST CLEAR DAY avionics to Atlantis through MILSTAR-7. In order to keep up with the Shuttle, NEST pilots must drop their detection pods and engage afterburners, flying supersonic escort to the Shuttle. This means that they must land in Kansas as their fuel will be nearly depleted and BLUE FLY’s refueling tankers have become billion dollar lawn darts.
Down on the Ground, Kansas State Highway patrol have cleared Route 23 of all traffic (before the EMP killed their ignition systems and radio traffic). The Shuttle begins its final approach under the guidance of KSC personnel. The Space Medicine Specialist must try to talk the blind, insane McAfee into giving up clues about the Colour and also to begin certain crash proceedures.
When the Shuttle passes over the NEST aircraft, the Colour generates a Particle Beam, melting through the cargo doors to escape the imminent crash with its spawn. NEST searchers partially witness this. The Colour then races northward ahead of the Shuttle toward the town of Gove. All the people parked alongside Route 23 are drained by the Colour’s passing. NEST searchers using nightvision/infrared gun-cameras see the ghostly luminescence of cold radioactive bodies lying in the dirt outside their cars, tractor-trailers and other vehicles.
Finally, Atlantis touches down on Route 23, some 50 miles from the town of Gove, Kansas. Whether or not it crashes and burns is up to the performance of SPACOM and NEST in linking avionics to the Shuttle, and to NASA’s Space Medicine Specialist’s sucess in getting McAfee to comply with Emergency Procedures. NEST aircraft will be nearly out of fuel and may wish to communicate with surviving BLUE FLY personnel to see if any Jet Fuel is available on the ground for immediate refueling (if they wish to pursue the Colour). BLUE FLY will attempt to recover the NEST Radiation Detection Pods if asked to do so.
Meanwhile, the Colour has escaped into Earth’s atmosphere and has discovered all the sleeping citizens within the EMP-darkened town of Gove.
CNN Live Broadcast from Air Force One:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America…
Tonight it is my sad duty to inform the world that the Space Shuttle Atlantis has crashed. My heart goes out to the families of the courageous astronauts on board who gave their lives for the dream of space.
The cause of the accident has yet to be determined, although early reports suggest that an asteroid or other space borne object collided with the shuttle as it attempted reentry. This object is believed to be the cause of the Electromagnetic pulse that has blacked out most of the American Midwest.
As a result of this E.M.P. I have declared a national emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin to assist the people of the affected states to rebuild their power grid, ensure that food distribution continues and prevent any further harm to the American people. The Governors of the affected states have called out the National Guard. With this timely and prompt response by FEMA and other disaster relief agencies, it is my hope that martial law need not be declared.
PART TWO: OUTBREAK
Should NEST be able to refuel and possibly refit their aircraft, it may be possible to track the Colour’s activity in Gove. The best strategy is to immediately launch one aircraft while the other awaits the recovery of the Four Nuclear Detection Pods by BLUE FLY personnel. The Colour is highly radioactive when mobile and can be easily tracked by NEST Searchers.
Once Airborne, NEST will discover many radioactive corpses in Gove. The Colour will be searching for a dark place to hide it’s spawn (they are currently cooling their jets in the walk-in storage freezer of the local supermarket). The colour has dematerialized and gone underground, searching for a good cave or underground pocket to store its spawn. A few hours before dawn it will take it’s spawn to the isolated Lomax Farm, drain and kill the farming family, and place the larval Colours in the well.
If NEST is on top of things, they should have Delta Green call out the USAMRIID and CDC to the site and establish a quarantine. This will be done under the auspices of FEMA Manager Justin Drako (Brigadier General, US Army, Ret.). Drako’s loyalties are mixed. He served in Delta Green prior to 1970, but later transferred to Majestic-12. Currently, he oversees Majestic’s consequence management projects for MJ-1 AQUARIUS. He is also the FEMA Manager in charge of Gove County, thanks to Majestic-12.
Within 24 hours the full NEST deployment, USAMRIID’s Biocontainment unit, and CDC’s Quarantine Team will be on site and setting up to seal off the area. BLUE FLY and NRO DELTA will want to remove MILSTAR-7 and the NEUROLABS Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUID) from the Atlantis. NEST Physicists will want to have a look at the NPU (and find that the plutonium now radiates with the spectral hues of the Colour). The Quarantine personnel should object strongly to any materials, even MILSTAR-7, being removed from the quarantine zone. SPACOM sends it’s team (NRO, NSA and DIA/ARPA) to the site to help determine what went wrong.
The Medical Personnel will face increasingly worsening symptoms in the townspeople of Gove. The diagnosis seems to be radiation poisoning, but the actual dosage is not sufficient to cause immediate effects. FEMA erects large white frame tents to put displaced motorists and townsfolk affected by the Colour.
SPACOM finds that MILSTAR is fine, except that the Plutonium is totally altered in an inexplicable fashion. The Bioreactor Demonstration System (BDS) has come apart, and spilled it’s contents throughout the cargo bay of Atlantis. This is merely a red herring. NRO DELTA soldiers do not allow anyone access to the SQUID/NIL devices.
What happens next is largely up to the Investigators. Their only point of contact is through DELTA GREEN and FEMA meetings. The field deployment of Majestic-12 allows Delta Green to tap into MJ-12 communications through the NSA. The Greys (Mi-Go) may wish to capture affected victims of the Colour in order to further their studies. This may lead to a few UFO sightings. Once they become aware of the Colour (through the Greys) Majestic will formulate a plan to capture and contain the Colour with magnetic devices. It is up to Delta Green to prevent this cursed event from occuring.
Two events of note do occur before the dramatic conclusion:
1) SaucerWatch, intrigued by the President’s address, arrive to make a gereral nuisance of themselves. They infiltrate the quarantine, and start poking around with videocameras and photography equipment. They ask many embarrassing questions of both Majestic and Delta Green operatives. SaucerWatch hopes to get information about BLUE FLY.
If Donny Lang is present he will have brought some Magnetic Media Disruptors (imagine a single large defibrillator paddle made of metal) in case anyone might get access to SaucerWatch’s computers. These will serve as a deterrent for the Colour. The NSA will also have these in it’s bag of tricks, but may not think of using them against the Colour until it’s too late.
2) Stephen Alzis will approach the Investigators who have had the least playing time (probably the quarantine folks) and offer up some information from Miskatonic University about the previous Colour outbreak. He will want the components of the Bioreactor Demonstration System, and the SQUID/NIL device in exchange for his assistance. Alzis will settle for one or the other however, and make another deal to get the piece of the puzzle that the investigators do not wish to obtain for him.
PART THREE: CONTAINMENT
EVENT: The SPACOM Investigators notice something new in BLUE FLY’s mobile command post. A Live satellite feed covering the Gove quarantine grid from something called WARBIRD. If successful with a Satellite Engineering or Know roll the NRO agent will remember something about the deployment of anti-satellite weapons in orbit under the USAF WARBIRD program. Rumors of Nuclear missiles abound.
WARBIRD is actually the latest gambit by MJ-5 MOON DUST commander Lt. Gen. Eustis Bell. Bell has deployed EXCALIBUR orbital missiles with antimatter warheads and ZEUS directed energy beams into a small and limited constellation of satellites. NSA SIGINT interceptions performed by Delta Green may uncover a videoconference between Drako and Bell wherein they discuss the WARBIRD targeting of Gove, Kansas. These discussions reveal the enormous power consumption of both ZEUS systems and EXCALIBUR antimatter containment. These factors, combined with the need for secrecy, limit the effective lifespan of individual WARBIRD components.
Meanwhile, should the Investigators be caught collecting SIGINT, they may have an option to frame SaucerWatch, or even to use them to perform the dirty work. NRO DELTA will be dispatched to dispatch the hapless UFO society. Delta Green may wish to intervene in this matter, or not.
As the same old cloak and dagger routine is being performed, the Colour continues its rampage. After it’s exploits in Gove during the Colour’s first night on Earth, it retires to its new lair in the Lomax well. The following evening the Colour attacks the countryside, afflicting all the local farm animals. This should cause much consternation among Quarantine managers. A mass cattle slaughter may be ordered, to no avail.
The next night, the Colour is drawn to the FEMA quarantine tents. One for “infected” townfolk and one for those who have yet to encounter the Colour. These huge white frame tents shine like a beacon, lit from within by florescent light. The helpless citizens of Gove suffer this attack with perhaps 1d6+6 casualties and numerous new cases.
As the people of Gove scream in agony and terror, the Greys contact Majestic and present information about the magnetic nature of this new alien predator. Drako decides to attempt a capture, and confiscates Buddy’s car-lifting magnetic cranes for this purpose. If Delta Green is not present (perhaps NEST can be informed by the NRO/NSA people), then Buddy is shot to death by NRO DELTA. If DG is there during the confiscation, then Psychology or Fast Talk rolls are needed to prevent the irate Buddy from brandishing his shotgun toward the NRO DELTA agents.
The next day, Majestic prepares to capture the Colour at the old Lomax farm. If NEST has not tracked down the Colour by now (unlikely), or have witheld this info from BLUE FLY, FEMA or other Majestic sources, then the Greys have told Drako where to locate the Colour. All the options discussed in the printed version may be used as nightfall approaches.
If Delta Green manages to disable one of the makeshift containment Magnets, the Colour attempts escape. First, it will attack and destroy FEMA HQ and the BLUE FLY deployment with otherworldly particle beams before attempting a mass drain of the Gove quarantine victims to fuel its escape into orbit. The Greys will maintain a respectful distance, but the Colour will spot them and shoot down their disc. BLUE FLY will most likely recover the craft before SaucerWatch or Delta Green can act. SaucerWatch may get some interesting photos or video evidence that will be confiscated by NRO DELTA unless DG agents can get them first.
Majestic will respond by firing ZEUS at the Colour. ZEUS has seven shots at the Colour, each doing 3d6x10 damage per shot, with one shot per every few minutes. The ZEUS targeting officer (SAN 49, POW 14) suffers 1/1d4 SAN loss per shot, and has a 77% chance to hit the Colour. This damage is first applied to Magic Points, then divided among SIZ and POW as the Keeper desires. The Colour may choose to rapidly dematerialize in order to avoid the ZEUS particle beam. For every MP spent, the Colour has a 10% chance to avoid damage by dematerialization. Should the Colour fall to zero SIZ and POW it has been effectively destroyed.
If Majestic fails to kill the Colour with its seven shots, it will fire an EXCALIBUR missile from the WARBIRD satellite over Gove. Before the EXCALIBUR can detonate, the Colour will drain the area and launch itself into orbit. Its esacpe path takes it directly into the EXCALIBUR missile, disintigrating it and sending the newly freed antimatter into another dimension. The Colour continues to accelerate upward and shatters the WARBIRD satellite. This may force Majestic to request that the Greys recover the dangerous wreckage, thus exposing MJ-5’s anti-Grey weaponry. Majestic eventually decides to send a REDLIGHT craft fitted for spaceborne operations to salvage the WARBIRD.
The aftermath depends on the actions of the Investigators, and should follow the guidelines set forth in the printed scenario.