Since it’s in a protected area, here’s my writeup of our first Spycraft adventure:
Session 01: The Shroud
Checkmate is in a nightclub in Prague tossing back shots with an attractive Ukranian woman when his phone rings. He pulls it out, looks at it, then stands up, saying “I’ve got to go.” The woman follows him out, confused, “Where are you going? Why?” He ignores her and continues walking. She pulls at the sleeve of his jacket, leaving a big scratch in the leather and tearing a seam, but he shakes her off.
Slick is at a parking lot, selling his car. He haggles with the price, then gets the call. He manages to have the guy give him a ride, and they drive off.
Shield is skiing down the Cascade trail at Killington when his phone rings. He pulls to the side, then takes out his phone. After he reads the message, he flips the phone shut and barrels down the mountain. Unfortunately he’s a bit too overconfident and nearly falls, getting to the bottom on one ski before pulling to a smooth spot. He goes into the lodge to get a drink, but Slick pulls up in Shield’s car, and he leaves it behind.
Shotgun is a former Israeli army soldier, and his commander lets him know he will be working with a corporate response team. “They’re on a mission to retrieve an object. Your job is to make sure that object stays in Israel”, the commander tells him.
The team has assembled with Shotgun, his commander, and a couple other soldiers outside a small hotel in Jerusalem. “Last night, a team broke into the secret lab of Yakamoto Industries located under the church across the street, wounded many and killed several before getting away with a piece of cloth that was being studied there”, says the commander. “We believe they were surveilling the church from this hotel, but we don’t know if they returned afterwards. However, we don’t have any other leads, and we need to deal with something else right now. I’m leaving you Shotgun as your liason with us”.
The commander and the other soldiers jump in a jeep and drive off. The team looks around, then heads into the hotel. Slick slides up to the woman standing behind the front desk. “How are you, sweetie’, he says, “Busy night last night, huh?” They get to chatting, she’s older and clearly flattered by his words. He establishes there were 3 occupied rooms the night before, two upstairs by Russian men and a German man, and one downstairs by a French couple and which rooms they were in. Shield catches Checkmate’s eye, Checkmate nods almost imperceptively and slides off.
As the sounds of voices filter upstairs, Checkmate appears at the top of the landing. He goes to the door of the room that the Russians stayed in, fiddles with the lock until it clicks and the door opens. He looks around, then goes inside shutting the door behind him. He quickly tosses the room, not finding much. He slips out and down the hall to the room the German was staying in. He picks the lock and goes inside to search. He has more luck here, unearthing a cassette tape under the bed. He notices a notepad near the phone and uses a pencil to shade the top sheet, revealing writing from the note scrawled on the previous sheet – Donna 972 2 6283282.
Downstairs the team has kept the woman occupied as Checkmate searched, but haven’t been able to check the room the French couple stayed in because it was in her line of sight. Shield asks to rent that room for the night. The woman agrees, but tells them housekeeping hasn’t come yet. Shield tells her, “That’s ok, we just want to put our bags down”. He and Shotgun go into the room and quickly search it, not finding much. Checkmate rejoins them near the front desk and they leave the hotel, sitting at a sidewalk cafe next door and comparing notes. Slick asks the waiter if he has something they can play a cassette tape on, and the waiter lets them borrow a Walkman he’s wearing after they order coffees. The tape is just polka music, but they decide to follow up the lead. Slick calls the number Checkmate found and a woman answers. He’d convinced the woman at the front desk to give him the names of the guests who registered, and he asks for Hans, the German guest. “Hallo!” Hans boomed. “Hans, this is Fuad from the hotel. Housekeeping found a tape in your romm, and we wondered if it was something you wanted” Slick said. “My polkas!” Hans cried, “I’ll be right there to get it”.
The team finishes their drinks and heads back to the hotel to wait for Hans. Aware this isn’t promising, Checkmate sneaks inside to search the room the Russians stayed in one more time. He is considerably more successful, finding both a picture of a cloth with rust colored stains, as well as hotel stationery with “IL 1053” written on it. Outside, a blond man with lederhosen and a cap is excitedly waving a cassette tape around, yelling “My polkas! My polkas!” Checkmate signals the team to join him and shows them what he’s found. It’s obvious the Russians are the suspects and they quickly deduce that the phrase on the stationery refers to an airline flight.
They pile into their rented Mercedes and head towards Ben Gurion Airport. Slick gets on the phone and determines there is a Icelandic Air flight 1053 scheduled to depart in 20 minutes to Helsinki. Shotgun calls his commander and convinces him to ground the flight claiming “mechanical difficulties”. Since the team is already on the road, they’ll be first to the airport and responsible for detaining the suspects.
Ben Gurion Airport
The team heads into the airport. They realize they need to gettheir weapons through security, so Slick and Shotgun create Mossad IDs that will allow them through without being checked. After they pass security, they head down towards Gate 21 where Flight 1053 has boarded. At they beginning of the gates, there are six fairly bulky guys, who are talking to each other in what appears to be Russian. When the team goes past, four men peel off and follow. Whispers are exchanged, and Slick and Shotgun head down to the gate while Shield and Checkmate peel off at a newstand. One of the guys follows Slick and Shotgun, the other three head towards the newsstand.
Slick and Shotgun are walking down the corridor and decide to take advantage of the odds with their shadow. DOES SOMEONE REMEMBER THE ORDER OF EVENTS?
One of the guys at the newsstand is browsing next to Checkmate. Checkmate decides to cause something to happen. He slides the picture of a cloth into the center of the Guns and Ammo he’s reading, then shows it to the guy next to him. “Seen anything like this around?” he asked. “I think you should come with us if you want to find out”, said the man in heavily accented English. He motioned to another guy and they go escort Checkmate into a bathroom across the corridor. Shield watches them go out of the corner of his eye.
Slick and Shotgun stand over the prone body of their foe. Luckily no one noticed their fight, so they pick him up and act like he’s drunk as they head for the nearest bathroom. They go inside and lock the door. They wake up their captive and ask him where the cloth is. When he doesn’t answer they fill a sink with water and dunk his head in it.
Checkmate goes in the bathroom first. Behind him, one of the Russians falls back to guard the door. “Uh oh”, Checkmate whispers into his mic, “looks like trouble”. Shield’s been waiting for this and slides out of the newsstand, leaving behind a Russian engrossed in a romance novel. The Russians with Checkmate draw plastic guns, Checkmate draws his and smiles as Shield bursts through the door, gun raised and finger tightening on the trigger. He hits the Russian closest to Checkmate. The one near the door squeezes off a shot, but misses. Checkmate returns fire and doesn’t miss a head shot. The legs visible under the stall have vanished. One dead, the other down and offering no resistance, they wash up.
Slick’s heard the commotion on his radio and checks in. “Everything’s fine”, says Shield, “We’ll catch up with you”. Shotgun pulls the Russian out of the water. “OK, I’ll talk”, he cries. “They’ve got the cloth, and they’re on the plane!” “How many of them?” asks Slick. “Four!” sighs the Russian. “Gag him and tie him up” Slick tells Shotgun. On the way out, Shotgun jams the door closed and Slick leaves a “being cleaned” sign in front.
Shield and Checkmate show, and the four head to the gate. The plane is still at the gate, but it looks like the passengers have disembarked. The team spreads out, and Slick goes to talk to a gate agent. He shows her his Mossad ID, and asks her if she knows where four Russian passengers have gone. She points hin further down the hall to the gates where the charter planes operate. Slick signals and team catches up as he heads down the hall and briefs them. They get to the gates and see no one matching the description. They ask around and find out a plane was chartered to Helsinki, but it departed ten minutes earlier. With no other option, the team charters another plane and boards it.
Iceland & Arctic Ice Fields
When the team lands in Iceland, a Yakamoto Industries cargo helicopter meets them at the airport. Inside are two 2 man snowmobiles. The pilot alerts them that the Russians took off an hour ago, and the team is soon in the air and following. They are getting close to the halfway mark on the fuel gauge (which could force them to turn back) when they spy a small encampment of buildings with two helipads. On one of the helipads the Russian’s copter has landed, but no one is in sight. The team elects to land, rather than following in the air and potentially running out of fuel. They see snowmobile tracks and elect to follow them, Checkmate and Shield on one, Slick and Shotgun on the other.
Slick is more experienced in the snow and pulls ahead of the other two. It’s not too long when they spy two other snowmobiles in the distance, but it’s close to an hour by the time Slick and Shotgun catch up to the trailing one. Shotgun tries shooting, but the terrain is rough and his shots go wide. Finally he attempts swinging with his gun, and smacks the driver, sending them off their path, caroming off some ice and tipping over. They don’t stop, radioing Checkmate and Shield to stop for them when they catch up. Slick keeps driving and soon is neck and neck with the other snowmobile. Shotgun again attempts to knock the driver, but isn’t successful.
Meanwhile, Checkmate and Shield catch up to the two Russians who were knocked off the other snowmobile. They search them and ask them where the shroud is, but they just tell them the others have it. Shield tells Shotgun this, and he redoubles his efforts, knocking the passenger and finally the driver off. Checkmate and Shield grab the passenger first, but he doesn’t have it. When Slick searches the driver, he finds it. They take the Russians’ weapons but leave the snowmobiles and head back to the helipad.
Showdown at the Heliport
The team dismounts at the encampment and heads inside to find their pilot. Too late they see a priest with guards waiting for them, but Slick thinks fast and switches to his vestments. The priest steps forward, “The Shroud of Turin is the property of the Holy Church. I have been entrusted with returning it safely. Hand it over or suffer the consequences”. The team looks at each other, torn. Slick convinces the priest he’s on the same mission, buying time for Shield to get out a vial of acid and threaten to pour in on the shroud. The priest and guards are shocked, and that gives Checkmate and Shotgun a chance to get to their guns, covering the guards and disarming them.
Checkmate and Shotgun cover the rear, as the team heads for the copter where their pilot is waiting for them. Checkmate runs to the priest’s and Russian’s copters, disabling them with shots to the control panel. As their pilot takes to the sky, the priest’s guards run to their copter. It won’t start, but they find weapons and shoot at the team. They miss, but Checkmate’s return volley doesn’t.
The team makes its way back to Israel, where they complete their mission and turn over the shroud to a representative of Yakamoto Industries.