GEMINI

The agents are sent to join a murder investigation following the discovery of two bodies in a rural area. Something about the bodies has caught the attention of Delta Green, but perhaps it’s just a strange coincidence. Meanwhile three children have gone missing from a nearby town and an innocent man is liable to be blamed for both those disappearances and the murders unless the agents can figure out what’s going on.

The Set Up

A child’s body was recently discovered in an isolated area by a hiker called Ken Matthews. When police excavated the grave they found a second child’s body. Both children are Caucasian females approximately 10 years old. Both have shaved heads and numerous friendship bracelets on their left wrists. Child A died approximately 3 months ago, while Child B died approximately 1 month ago. The medical examiner was struck by how similar the bodies appeared; decomposition had affected their appearance, but they were uncannily alike.

A girl called Ruby Loomis disappeared from the area 6 months prior to the discovery of the bodies. As she was the right age and race police initially thought one of the bodies was hers. Comparing Ruby’s dental records with the teeth of the bodies ruled this out – and revealed that the bodies had identical sets of teeth. They also show evidence of identical medical procedures; both have had their appendix, gall bladder and salivary glands removed in exactly the same way and even the scars from these procedures are identical. These girls appear to be photocopies of each other, although their causes of death are different. Child A had died of organ failure induced by an overdose of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, (such as Ibuprofen/Advil), and Child B was suffocated.

The medical examiner had DNA from the two bodies tested and discovered that they were genetically identical. Missing twin girls should have been big news, but police have been unable to find any matching disappearances or kidnappings.

Three children of the right age have been reported missing in the area in the last six months, although only one is the same sex and race as the bodies:

  • Ruby Loomis – 9 year old Caucasian girl; disappeared 6 months ago
  • Shawna Williams – 11 year old African-American girl; disappeared 3 months ago
  • Travis Miller – 10 year old Caucasian boy; disappeared 1 month ago

Although they were not friends, the children all knew each other. Photographs or videos of the missing children together will show that all three children were roughly the same size.

The Town

The nearest town is not wealthy and has been blighted with opioid abuse. Ruby, Shawna and Travis all come from the same low-income housing development and all have unstable home lives. Ruby’s mother is an alcoholic, Shawna is currently living with her grandmother while her mother serves a prison sentence and Travis’s parents have been investigated by CPS on numerous occasions.

In fact, the community effort to locate the missing children isn’t being led by any of their parents or guardians, but by a woman called Karen Johnson, the doting single mother of Layla, a very sick 10-year-old girl. Karen is a recent transplant to the area, having moved there a year ago after Layla's father left them. She lives on welfare and cares full-time for Layla. Luckily, Karen used to work as a nurse and is well-equipped to provide the kind of care that Layla needs. They live in a bungalow on the edge of the same housing development as the missing children. Neighbours all speak highly of Karen, commenting on her strength and patience. Many people in the area have donated money for Layla's treatments. This is understandable as Layla Johnson is a pitiful figure; pale and bald, she is confined to a wheelchair. She speaks haltingly, and has a breathing tube leading to a canister of oxygen on the back of her wheelchair. Both Karen and Layla wear lots of friendship bracelets. Joint craft projects help mother and daughter forget about their difficult lives.

Karen will cross paths frequently with the agents, (always with her daughter in tow), and will quiz them at every opportunity about the bodies and the missing children. If agents ask why she’s so interested Karen will tell them that her daughter is her whole world and she couldn’t imagine anything worse than losing Layla. Layla will usually be subdued and disinterested, but will become distressed if Travis Miller’s name is said in her presence. Karen will attribute this agitation to Layla’s illness and end the conversation at this point.

Press Coverage

Two mysterious bodies in the wood and three missing children? Obviously the press are all over this, interviewing local residents and getting in the way of police. Cover ups and clandestine actions will be appropriately difficult, although presenting the press with a good narrative might distract them from what’s really going on.

What’s Really Going On

In reality, Karen Johnson suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy; she enjoys the attention she receives from being the mother of a sick child and keeps her daughter ill to ensure she remains the centre of attention. Karen has been fooling medical professionals for years. In addition to her nurse’s training she’s read numerous medical textbooks. She is extremely confident and persuasive. If anyone does become suspicious she takes Layla to a new doctor, and if the suspicion seems especially strong she will move house. Her move to this area was prompted by the concerns of a previous doctor.

Unfortunately, Munchausen syndrome by proxy can result in the death of the dependent at the hands of the caregiver. The original Layla Johnson died 6 months ago, eroding the remains of Karen’s sanity. But Karen was raised in an unconventional religion with some unusual rituals; Karen knows a modified version of Body Warping of Gorgoroth, which allows her to alter someone other than herself. After the original Layla died she kidnapped Ruby and altered her form to that of Layla’s. Unfortunately, Karen’s abuse has escalated since Layla’s death and Ruby died three months later. Karen has replaced “Layla” twice more since then. The two bodies recently uncovered are those of Ruby Loomis (Child A) and Shawna Williams (Child B), both transformed into Layla. Travis Miller is the current Layla, although he is unlikely to survive for more than another month. He is terrified and heavily drugged. If anyone speaks to him alone he will tell them he’s been kidnapped and beg for help.

Karen had no problem abducting her replacement Laylas. The children were often unsupervised and would not have seen Karen as a threat. Karen uses her medical knowledge to help local families and so the children she took trusted her when she approached them.

With Karen’s DNA agents can learn that the two identical bodies are both Karen’s daughters – as is the child currently in her care, and the as-yet-undiscovered body buried in Karen’s back yard. This body was buried six months ago and is the original Layla.

Anyone looking into Karen’s past should uncover inconsistencies, such as name changes, neighbours reporting different information about Karen’s life, doctors treating Layla for different illnesses and online fundraising campaigns with different information.

Resolution

If the agents don’t figure out that Karen is the killer after a week, local police will arrest a homeless man with a criminal record called Ernest Hale. Ernest will be charged with kidnappings of Ruby, Shawna and Travis and the murders of two Jane Does.

However, Karen isn’t a particularly clever serial killer and forensic evidence and eyewitness interviews, (and her own attempts to insert herself into the investigation), should lead agents to her. The question is how the agents will proceed once they know the identity of the killer. The bodies of Ruby, Shawna or Travis will never be found, so their families will never know what happened to them, and trying Karen for murder might be difficult without a motive.

If agents figure out that Karen is suffering from Munchausen by proxy they might be able to charge her with child abuse and send her to prison or a psychiatric facility. Delta Green might want agents to interrogate Karen and find out how she learnt this spell. (This scenario could become the start of an investigation into whatever cult Karen was raised in. As Body Warping of Gorgoroth invokes the Crawling Chaos, a cult of Nyarlathotep would make the most sense.)

The current “Layla” will probably end up in the foster care system unless the agents can come up with a better solution. The authorities are unlikely to believe the traumatised girl’s story about being Travis.

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.