Off Euclid Avenue

Delta Green intercepted an inquiry from the Minneapolis police sent up the chain to the FBI, hoping for leads on a case of possible identity theft and fraud. Agents must investigate two men. A local Black Lives Matter Activist Marcus Garvey Gaston of St. Paul and a Minneapolis man… Marcus Gaston (M. Gaston). They are identical. The troubled the department are in hot water over it and hope to bring this to a swift end.

Examine any physical evidence, determine if one is a doppelganger, “secure” him, and assess any Unnatural Threat Vectors.

The Brief

Five days ago the Minneapolis police arrested M. Gaston for trespassing, breaking and entering into an apartment above a bookstore off Euclid Avenue. Hours later, Gaston’s mother entered the 4th precinct to clear up some confusion concerning her son, who was not in jail. Then she saw the mugshot.

That WAS her son’s face…

Convinced the Police were framing, conspiring against her son ahead of a march down Interstate 94, their family lawyer began filing suit. Tensions between the black community and police are reaching a boiling point.

Through all this, the man in custody insists he is the real Gaston, that the home he was arrested for trying to enter was his. The “thieves” have tricked everyone, done something to his dogs. He’s sure the police and this doppelganger conspired against him. The world has gone mad. After interviewing with a psychiatrist, M was remanded to Hennepin County Medical Center psych ward for further evaluation.

Twin Suns, Twin Gastons

M describes using the newest ride service app, Hytch to go home after drinking at a friend’s birthday party. He called 911 after discovering intruders in his home. Police spoke with him and the residents. He showed them his key to the front door. His ID listed the apartment as his residence. No one had never met him.  They concluded ID was a damn good fake. Police arrested M shortly after. It was captured on body cam. M’s shock and emotional state are genuine. He believed it was his home.

In interviews, M describes a fantasy world, like ours only slightly better. Perhaps he is crazy, he has being forcibly doped up on ketamine. Oddly, he can’t answer basic questions to establish a basis for truth. He accurately names his date of birth, date and year, but says Hillary Clinton is President? He can’t remember where he was on 9-11 and has no idea what that even is. He sounds delusional, referencing strange events and farfetched conspiracies. All of this registers as truthful.

Marcus is a St. Paul teacher and local activist organizing the march from the Capitol in St. Paul, all the way to Lowry Park in Minneapolis for a vigil. He lives on East Euclid Street in St. Paul, above a bookstore. He knows nothing about M and refers agents to speak with his mother about it. He is concerned with the disappearance of his sister and her friend.  Marcus’ mother will happily harangue authorities, pointing out every inconsistency, numerous witnesses to his innocence. The police did a shoddy job framing her son.

Physical Clues

M’s wallet contains 57 U.S. dollars. The $20 features Calhoun not Jackson. At first glance it looks like fake money, but reveals the security strip when held to the light. He has a Dayton’s credit card. His ID holds up to scrutiny. The address is the only wrong element.

Examining his smartphone reveals a pretty typical user history. His most recent email is a “Thank You” from Hytch. A few spaces down an acquaintance sent a free ride coupon when they sign-up with the code PICKYEATER237.

Saved tabs in his Alta Vista browser display pages of current events similar, but somehow different: Vikings 2018 NFL Champions, Prince Debuts Tour at Electric Fetus, President Clinton Commemorates Capital Attacks Memorial. They hint at a strangely familiar world, but unnervingly, better sounding. They lend credence to the M’s ravings, and deep down agents may want it to. If the page is refreshed or link clicked, the app crashes: “This application is not supported.”

PICKYEATER237

In truth, the Gastons are the same man leading parallel lives. After a late night party, one took the bus home, while a phantom black 1948 Plymouth Taxicab drove the other home in style from his world… A Better world… to this one. When he arrived the app prompted him for a rating. He gave it 5 Stars, then he shared it. To his ENTIRE CONTACTS LIST.

Investigators may find Hypergeometric text embedded in the source code of the coupon. Examination takes hours for one, a day or so for both. It has 2 spells in two phases. First, Call Forth the Phantom Coach. It summons a Coachman of Carcosa, who ferries the passenger.

The second part embedded in the rating and referral code is The Phantom’s Dark Truth. The text is vague. It describes bringing the passenger to the Dark Time or Truth. This could mean they travel to a “Darker Reality,” create a new reality from nightmares, or reveals the true reality.  The first revelation costs 1/1d6 Sanity. The second, implying darker existential truths, inflicts 1d4/1d10 in Sanity.

Perhaps we really do live in the darkest timeline.

Perhaps there are darker timelines.

Further Developments

Meanwhile, Gaston's sister, Sheila and her friend Aisha, both go missing after a Lynx game. Ex-girlfriend, Beth, was last seen getting into a cab after her Zumba class at the YWCA. The contact list was long. The disappearances have only begun. 1 or 2 more people disappear with each passing day. The night of the march will see dozens vanish. Forever.

The Coachman

Summoning the Coachman is as easy as pressing a button. The screen glitches for a second, then flashes the Yellow Sign. His car approaches from around the corner. He will not get out, and he can’t daly long. Questioning will require Agents to go for a ride or force him from the vehicle. He will drive away if threatened. He is just a man, after all.

The driver is a perfect gentlemen. You have to be for Management to hire you. He is Coachman, an inhabitant of Lost Carcosa. Proudly, like Charon of greek myth, he ferries passengers to their final destination, to their truth where they may wear no mask! He is wounded by the news that M. Gaston is dissatisfied. “But he gave me five stars! Is he not satisfied with our services?” Complaints should be taken up with Management. That’s not recommended. Management can be very, temperamental.

He explains seriously, that he is not just a driver. His is an important service for the Phantom of Truth. “I can take you away from all this. Away from the stupid lies we live. Take you to your truth. Meet your true self, as long as you call me and All the Stars align.” Agents can share the code with each other, but each only gets a one way ticket. They may ride along, but they risk life and sanity travelling to a dark truth, especially their own.

Riding Home should be terrifying. It speaks to their personal fears, inadequacies and uncertainty as a Delta Green agent. The truths come from deep existential questions lying at the heart of their character and their mission. Is it all worth it for just one more sunrise? Are they a good person? Are they a sane one?

At some point the app prompts rating. Three stars or higher, means the Stars Aligned closing the passage. They can never go back. Two or lower ratings instantly transport them back. That world rendered a passing dream. The phantom of truth keeping them up at night.

Dead Endings

M Gaston’s fate is in the agents hands. The Coachman cannot take M back. Once “The Stars are Aligned” the way back is closed, but he may ride to the Next Truth. Whether they spare his life in a cover up or put him in the ground, agents will have to grapple with the fallout.

After discovering the hypergeometry, Delta Green could issue security alerts to accounts exposed to the unnatural vector. They could suspend the app, or given time overwrite the code. If urgent, cell coverage could be blocked, but this will be misconstrued as a cyber attack against the marchers.

Agents may kill the Coachman and take his car. GPS recorded all previous stops and fares. They can go after the missing girls and Gaston’s ex-girlfriend. Doing so would be perilous for they are nightmarish by ours and the world of Delta Green’s standards. Some agents may not come back alive.

They could always file a complaint with Management.

Both consequently summons the Company Man. A black suit with yellow lepel and a pallid grin. You cannot kill the truth. In the end, it always finds you.

Agents should be left wondering if they really stopped the infection, just as they watch a car, disappear Off Euclid Ave.

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.