Calls to the Dead

Background

Freddy Bertrand lives on the outskirts of Palerock, Tennessee, a small town of about 1,000. As a coping mechanism after his wife died, he bought an old phone booth and put it in his backyard. He would sit in the booth for hours and talk to his wife.

Three years ago, a tornado touched down in Palerock. It tore through the town and killed 307 people, including 52 children when it hit part of the high school.

In the years since, word has spread around town about Freddy’s phone. People who lost loved ones sometimes come to Freddy’s phone to talk. He put up a small collection box outside, and donates anything he gets to a local charity. Last year, a local news station did a piece on Freddy and his phone as part of their coverage of the anniversary of the tornado. Now, even more people come to speak into the Ghost Phone.

The Hook

The players are part of a Delta Green cell that is put together to investigate a strange death that took place in Palerock. Their handler explains the Palerock tornado, and then plays them a 911 call.

DISPATCHER: 911. What’s your emergency.

CALLER: Oh God. It’s…it’s my wife and daughter. They’re here. I..I don’t know how. I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!

DISPATCHER: Sir, please calm down. What’s your address so I can send officers to you?

CALLER: They’re dead! They died! They’re…they’re so angry. I’m sorry. I wish it was me! Please, don’t hate me!

DISPATCHER: Sir, please get to some place safe. Officers are on their way.

CALLER: Oh God! They’re…so angry! It’s my fault. It’s my fault they’re dead. I’m so sorry.

(The man screams. As he does, the players can hear a low-pitched static sound on the speaker)

The caller was Harold Barrett. His wife and daughter died in the tornado. When police arrived at his home, they found all the doors and windows locked, and Barrett dead on the living room floor. There was no sign of a struggle or forced entry. An autopsy showed the cause of death was cardiac failure. There were no drugs in his system. Delta Green was altered to the case by a friendly in the Tennessee State Police. He died three days ago.

What’s Going On

A psychic vampire that feeds on human grief and misery has come to Palerock. The creature is posing as Dr. Aspen Wells, a grief counselor. She travels to sites of disasters and sets up shop. She speaks to people to find the “ripest.” Under the pretense of therapy, she brings all their grief to the surface, and then she feeds. She does not need to be in the room with her victims, just close by. She’s usually outside the house when she feeds. She consumes their grief and life force. They see images of their loved ones as they die.

Leads

The News Report: The news report was a special about Freddy’s Ghost Phone that was put together for the second anniversary of the tornado as part of a larger package about how people were coping. One of the victims, Lainey Robinson, was interviewed.

Barrett's House: There's still crime scene tape over the door and furniture pushed out of the way from officers’ attempts to save his life. There is a bottle of antidepressants in the bedroom, prescribed by Dr. Aspen Wells. An analysis will show they are sugar pills.

Police: The Palerock Police Department is a corner of the town’s municipal building. The department is three people: Officers Mary Bertrand and Sal Stephanopolous, and Chief Harry Biscardi. Biscardi is a no-nonsense man who just wants to keep people safe. Stephanopolous is still wet behind the ears. Bertrand is eager to help. She thinks there’s something strange going on, but doesn’t know what.

The police will give the players, with their federal credentials, access to Barrett’s file. His body is still in the morgue and can be examined.

Barrett was not the first to die like this. He’s the fifth this year. The victims are: Ellis Murphy, Lainey Robinson, Paige Duncan, Theo Watts and now Barrett.

Other than Barrett, there was one other 911 call made, by Lainey Robinson. She was screaming about her brother being in her home. Then a similar static sound is heard.

Victims’ Families:

The wife of the first victim, Ellis Murphy, came home from work and found him dead in the kitchen.

Robinson’s parents live in town, but weren’t home when she died. They say she was hit hard by her brother’s death (he was in the high school). It had taken a long time, but therapy with Dr. Aspen Wells was seeming to help her.

Paige Duncan’s husband, Aaron, has a story to tell. He was asleep in bed one night six months ago when he was awoken by his wife’s screaming. He rushed downstairs and saw her standing in the living room, crying and screaming about their son, who had died in the school. There was no one else there. She was crying, saying over and over again how sorry she was and how she wished it was her. He moved to her, and as he did, her eyes went wide. He says he heard a strange noise, like when a car drives quickly by with a heavy bass and the sound is distorted, but it was all around him. His skin tingled and the lights flickered. By the time he got to his wife, she was dead and collapsed into his arms. The police told him she probably had a psychotic break, and attributed the rest of it to his own grief. Both he and his wife were also seeing Dr. Wells. He still sees her.

Theo Watts was an elderly man with no living relatives in town.

Barrett had no other family in town.

Freddy’s House:
Freddy Bertrand lives about 15 minutes outside of Palerock at the top of a small hill. From his property, you can see the whole of the town in the distance. The scar of the tornado is still painfully visible. Freddy is in his early 70s and affable. He’s happy to help the players in any way he can and share any information he knows.

The Ghost Phone sits in the backyard of his home. It is a standard phone booth made of aluminum, which Freddy has cleaned up, and has Bell stickers on the side. The inside is cleaner than any phone booth has ever been, as Freddy keeps it tidy, and Freddy even rigged it up so the light inside works. The phone, however, has no dial tone.

Taped inside the phone booth is a business card, easily visible to anyone sitting on the bench. “You are not alone. Dr. Aspen Wells, Grief Counselor.”

If anyone examines the phone, they can hear something moving in the handset. Taking it apart reveals a listening device wired into the mouthpiece. It’s broadcasting somewhere closeby. A SIGINT study would find the receiver at Dr. Wells’ office.

Freddy can tell the players a little about Dr. Wells. She’s not from around here, but said she saw the report on TV and knew people here needed help. She only charges people what they can afford for her sessions. Freddy said she seems nice. He doesn’t know about the bug.

Dr. Aspen Wells:
She’s a brunette woman of average height, with shoulder-length hair and dark, piercing eyes behind her glasses. Her demeanour gives off an aura of professionalism and tranquility. Her office is adorned with pictures of her all over the world.

Wells is surprised to see the players, but willing to talk. She can’t go into specifics about any of their cases (due to confidentiality), but will talk in broad strokes. She was seeing all of the victims, but she sees many people in town. It’s a terrible tragedy what happened to them. But sometimes, grief and depression just can’t be overcome.

Her body language is tricky to read. But a good success will see that she’s hiding something.

If the players get into her files, they’ll see notes for many people in town. The files for all of the victims have a star next to their name, as do a few other people who are not yet deceased.

If they stake out her home, they’ll see that she has a pretty normal routine, except that they never see her eat. Inside her home are pictures hanging on the walls of her in various places, all after disasters, going back decades. She looks the same in all of them and does not seem to have aged.

If the players confront her, she transforms to her true form. Six feet tall, pale skin, clawed fingers and sharp fangs. Seeing her true form is a 1/1d6 SAN check.

Psychic Vampire

HP: 30
Alertness: 50%, Dodge: 40%, Stealth: 60%, Unarmed Combat: 65%
Attacks: Claws (65%, 1D8 damage), Bite (65%, 1D6 damage)
 

Credits

This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Anonymous.

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.