Negative Space

The world is full of nothing. Not just empty fields and disused lots, but the spaces between atoms, between the electrons in an atom, between the quarks in a proton. But this isn’t air. This isn’t a vacuum either. It is Ma, the being of spaces.

Ma is between time as well. A pause at the end of a sentence. That moment that is just perfect, that seems to stretch on. Those times of anxious delay when the clock stands still. Ma is there, too. It is in all the time and space that isn’t.


It is 22:13 on a Tuesday when the Agents receive a message from A-cell:

“ORANGE LEVEL contact received from FRIENDLY, Dr. Anita Taylor, at 21:56. FIVE-O in route to gunshot call at address. Distress indicated. Possible connection to earlier, GREEN LEVEL contact repeated below. Determine situation, contain threats, and disrupt FIVE-O and commence clean-up as needed. Contact A-cell with new information.

“Repeated message: GREEN LEVEL contact received from FRIENDLY, Dr. Anita Taylor, at 14:26 local. Friendly was agitated and panicked by results of physics experiment. Results did not match laws of physics. Friendly possibly under unknown external influence. Friendly was calmed and assistance was promised within 48 hours. NANNYS to depart within 24 hours.”

Dr. Taylor teaches at a local university in the physics department. The Agents are the nearest cell in this emergency. The operator who took Taylor’s earlier call thought that she influenced by something. It could be mundane, like drugs or sleep deprivation, or mythos, like reading a book or meeting an entity. The normal friendly contact investigation team was leaving tomorrow. The Agents should eliminate Delta Green connections to Taylor and stop any threats.

What’s Going On

Dr. Petr Anselm’s research in quantum mechanics was not going well. His stress and anxiety prompted his uncle to recommend he try meditation. While meditating at Roshi Kenja’s temple, the wise sage told him about praying to Ma for more space.

Anselm did, and found that it worked. Being a scientist, he experimented. He wrote out a prayer to Ma to remove itself from between the electron in a hydrogen atom. Running an experiment, he found that the electron now had a variable energy from -13.6 eV to -3.4 eV. This should not be, since the charge is quantized.

The realization that everything in quantum mechanics is false broke Anselm. He began to worship Ma, while continuing his experiments in secret. His rapid mental deterioration worried his colleague, Dr. Taylor.

On Monday night, she searched his desk and found the notebook he said he lost. After reading it late into the night, she tried the experiment on Tuesday. She was horrified when it worked and contacted Delta Green immediately.

Ma warned Anselm of her coming betrayal, and Anselm hired a local thug named Eddy to rob the lab under the guise that Taylor owed drug money. When Taylor went in an hour ago to confront Anselm, Eddy accidentally shot her in a (Ma influenced) panic.


Ma acts without discernable purpose. It is everywhere, and can go between anything.

Ma might cause the following:
• A drive feels much shorter than it should.
• A room takes far too many steps to cross.
• In an enclosed room, the air swirls for five seconds before calming.
• An empty lot seems to expand and contract as if breathing.
• A room seems for a moment to contain nothing. Not blackness, nothing.
• Agents keep hitting invisible walls, which are gone a moment later.
• An Agent feels something ethereal embrace them.
• Something is taken apart, atom by atom, in front of an Agent.


Physics Lab

When the Agents arrive, they find the police have already begun to cordon off the scene, but it is still hectic enough for the Agents to get past. In the lab she shared with Anselm, Taylor lies dead on the ground. Two police investigate around the body before the coroner arrives and two more talk with Anselm. If the Agents present any passable ID, the police allow them to conduct their own investigation, as long as neither the body is disturbed nor Anselm leaves without a statement.

Dr. Anita Taylor’s Body: Shot twice at close range. Needle marks along arms and legs. Nothing else is off.

Dr. Petr Anselm: The professor has graying hair and a wrinkled suit. He seems calm and collected, but HUMINT shows he is stressed and fatigued. He answers questions succinctly.
• Shooting: He was in his office and heard two gunshots from the laboratory. He roughly describes Eddy, who ran away, but didn’t see anything else.
• Dr. Taylor: She acted weird in the last few months and he worried that she was doing drugs. She was meeting someone named Sean every Friday.
• His research: Quantum mechanics involving quark teleportation. Agents without Science: Physics of at least 40% do not understand his explanation.
• Roshi Kenja: Teaches Anselm meditation to relieve the stress of work.

Physics Office

A dozen messy cubicles labeled with names. A police officer is going through Taylor’s desk. If Agents return the next morning, Anselm will be here.

Scrawled Notes in Taylor’s Desk: “Anselm lost experiment notebook?” “Sean, I’ll pay by Fri.” and “Ma?!”

Anselm’s Desk: On the top is a business card for Roshi Kenja. The bottom drawer has a false back. Inside is a notebook with meticulous experiment notes, including the experiments with Ma.

Anselm’s Computer: In his e-mails is a notice from the University library that “Ancient Japanese Minimalism” is due and a deleted email forwarded from a different account which just reads “What the hell?! You owe me!” and signed “Eddy.”

University Library

A concrete block from the 70’s. The librarians are willing to help an Agent with a reasonable request.

“Ancient Japanese Minimalism”: This book on interior design is thick and takes 2d6 hours to read completely. The section on Ma, or negative space, can be read in 1 hour.

Ma: The name and concept shows up in books of design and Japanese history. Agents can also find basic information on a simple internet search. There are cursory mentions of the concept being worshipped secretly in Japan as a god.

Taylor’s Apartment

A clean, modern apartment with a bedroom and an office.

Taylor’s Experiment Journal: Mostly mundane, until Monday. She found Anselm’s “lost” experiment journal, read it, and found out about him praying to a “Ma.” Tuesday morning, she tried an experiment, and it freaked her out. She immediately contacted “the group,” and was going to confront Anselm that evening.

Used needles: In several places in the apartment are poorly hidden hypodermic needles. Taylor clearly had an addiction problem for a long time, possibly stemming from her recruitment.

Contact Book: One contact stands out: “Sean, supplier.” The address is in the rough part of town.

Sean’s Apartment

Taylor’s address book or a Criminology roll leads Agents to his apartment, where he deals from.

Sean: Twitchy and paranoid, he tries to run if the Agents mention they are with law enforcement. If convinced to talk, he answers carefully.
• Taylor: Yes, she was a client. She usually comes on Fridays.
• Owed money: She paid on time, and only owed most recent payment.
• Drug: Not tainted, he swears. Only deals with high quality.
• Attacker: Sounds like a local thug, Eddy. Sean gives directions to his bar in exchange for not being arrested.

Local Bar

A ramshackle dive bar, with a broken jukebox and a scowling bartender.

Eddy: A big, strong, impulsive man trying to lie low after his accidental murder. He runs and hides, poorly, if he sees anyone who looks like a cop. If caught, he tells everything he knows.
• Taylor: He doesn’t know her, personally, just panicked when she caught him robbing lab.
• Who ordered robbery: He doesn’t know who, just that someone owed drug money. He communicated only by secure email.
• Gun: The gun was his personal weapon, thrown in a dumpster.
• He doesn’t know anything else.

Roshi Kenja’s Temple

A brick building outside, inside is a sparse, Japanese style temple with an open rock garden in the middle and enclosed meditation rooms around the outside. Kenja’s office is done in a modern style.

Roshi Kenja: An older man in traditional Japanese clothes. He answers deliberately and truthfully, but only speaks of Ma if the Agents ask.
• Anselm: Yes, he comes to meditate at the Temple.
• Ma: Describes the concept of space between things, time, movement, etc.
• Anselm’s experiments: He was contacting Ma though written prayer.
• Can you demonstrate: Kenja gladly shows the Agents. He slowly and deliberately writes out a prayer. The next minute seems to take twice as long.


The Agents need to destroy both experiment notebooks. Anselm, if offered, pretends to join Delta Green, but defects the following day, aided in escape by Ma. Roshi Kenja refuses to close his temple or stop teaching about Ma. Only destruction or murder can stop them, but those will surely draw the attention of Ma.


This was an entry to the 2017 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Aaron Achartz.

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.