Operation Incubus Blue


We begin in [city], tying up loose ends after a wild-goose chase; the senator the agents were surveiling wasn't a cultist after all but a common-or-garden swinger. Now, with tickets booked and bags packed, agents are checking out of the motel and heading home…

That's when their cell phones start ringing. All of them. At the same time.

The Call

The agents' phones are in a conference call and can all hear one another. A brisk, female voice confirms call-signs and locations before launching into a briefing:

“Agents, I am control officer SUNDANCER. As of 10 minutes ago an Incubus Blue situation was reported in [city] – an unnatural threat to all human existence is imminent. As the nearest available team, your objective is to recover assets WOODBINE and BUTLER by any means. Lethal force is authorized. The clock is ticking. Follow my instructions…”

Agents are told to get a vehicle and get moving – time is of the essence. The team can split up and go after assets separately, as so long as they stay on their phones they'll remain in contact. If anyone's cell drops out, SUNDANCER rings them back.

If asked about “lethal force” SUNDANCER says rules of engagement have been rescinded. All options, including out-and-out lethal force against civilians and law-enforcement officers, are on the table. This opera isn't just about protecting the conspiracy. It's about humanity's survival.

Who is Sundancer?

An anonymous voice of calm and reason, SUNDANCER never gets angry, never seems flustered. Even when things are falling apart, she stays on point, keeping tabs via a mix of police-band radio, traffic-cameras, news broadcasts, mapping tools and satellite or drone footage.

If agents slacken or slow, she goads, threatens or cajoles them back to action. If they don't know what to do next, she offers the most expedient solution (always the most violent or speedy).

The Followers

The main antagonists are the Followers, though nobody calls them that. Predominantly male and Caucasian, with a few women and people of color, they come from all across America and display no distinguishing marks or insignia other than being horribly, terribly, banally mundane: kindergarten teachers, accountants, pool-cleaners, dentists, car mechanics, housewives etc.

Typical Followers wield knives or improvised weapons. A few carry pistols or long-arms. At least two – a blonde soccer-mom and an overweight Asian male (both WP 16) – know hypergeometric formulae for Withering and Summon Dimensional Shambler (“Lure the Hungerer”). They arrive whenever the agents are getting cocky or look home and dry.

Being just hours from ushering in the End Times, the Followers aren't too concerned about getting arrested or having their faces run on TV news. They'd prefer not to die, though.

Agent Woodbine

The roads are congested but SUNDANCER demands speed over safety – Drive rolls are needed to weave in and out of traffic, dodge cars and evade accidents. If they crash, SUNDANCER orders them to hijack a new vehicle. If things go very badly, a chain of pile-ups launches a high-speed cop pursuit.

Agents must find Woodbine ASAP. She's unarmed, bleeding from a stab wound and trapped in LeGrange Heights, a depressed and gang-riddled low-rise public housing estate to the east of the city. More than a dozen Followers are scouring its streets for her by car and on foot.

As the agents close in, Woodbine enters the conference call. Both her and SUNDANCER try to guide them to her hiding place – a half-filled dumpster. Her life-expectancy isn't good; if agents don't follow instructions and grab her fast, the cult finds and kills in about 10 minutes.

Complications include the LeGrange Boyz, an African-American gang that runs the estate. Today is gang-boss Antwon Osmond's birthday and security is tight for his party. Agents, cops or cultists may spook the gang, unintentionally kicking off a shoot-out.

Once they find Woodbine, SUNDANCER orders agents to get her clear. If she's dead, they must bring the corpse with them for extraction. Cultists who saw agents escape with Woodbine will hunt them across the city. The LeGrange Boyz might follow too.

Woodbine's stats are those of an Ordinary Bureaucrat (per Handler's Guide). Mid-30s, Caucasian, with tattoos and piercings, she refuses to talk about herself or what's happening, just stares listlessly out the window and grimaces with every pothole. At 6 HP and bleeding out, without medical attention she lapses into unconsciousness in 30 minutes and dies in the hour. SUNDANCER tells agents not to stop at a hospital – if they must do field surgery, it's done in the car…

Agent Butler

Butler is holed up in room 608 at the Constellation Hotel, a seedy 8-floor dive on the west-side. He was waiting for retrieval when Followers burst in and tried to kill him. He shot one dead. The other four retreated to the corridor, taking potshots round the door frame. Now a SWAT team is prepping to go upstairs and TV media are en route.

Unless the agents intercede, SWAT goes up, engages the cultists (killing them all) and brings Butler down in handcuffs. Fast-drivers might be able to get there before the raid, flashing their badges and joining the assault on some flimsy federal pretext. Otherwise, agents could try and spring Butler from arresting officers when he's brought down.

If they're too late, agents spot Butler bundled into a squad car bound for headquarters. SUNDANCER tells them to rescue him before he reaches custody – again, lethal force is authorised. Otherwise, five blocks from HQ, two vans full of cultists zoom in, ram the squad car off the road and shoot the cops. Butler is dragged from the vehicle and decapitated in the middle of the street alongside three willing Followers. Taking Butler's remains, the cultists drive off as police reinforcements arrive. SUNDANCER demands agents recover Butler (and head), dead or alive.

Butler is a 40-ish African-American and his statistics are those of an Expert Special Operator (per Handler's Guide). He knows how to handle a gun and is more talkative than Woodbine. While he won't give his name or occupation he warns agents the cult is just hours from unleashing doomsday with some kind of virus – a brain worm or killer dream or living idea or something. He refuses to elaborate and SUNDANCER warns agents not to listen to him.

Ashford's Body

If brought together alive, Woodbine and Butler argue about whose fault this disaster was – then begin asking each other where the “quoin” is. If either or both are dead, SUNDANCER tells the agents to search their bodies, which come up clean.

Either of the assets – or SUNDANCER – then informs the agents the “quoin” must be with Agent Ashford. He is currently filling a body-bag at the Chief Medical Examiner's Office, a big old mortuary near the city's university.

Agents must recover Ashford's body (held under the alias “Michael Benson”) from a basement freezer. They should also retrieve his property from storage. While security here isn't tight, the cops are surely on the agents' tails – as are the Followers.

Ashford's corpse is Caucasian, mid-30s and covered with tattoos, some with occult connotations. He has not yet been autopsied and his body is a horrific tortured mess (SAN 0/1D3). If Woodbine sees what's become of him she bursts into tears and alternately prays for him (in what might be Farsi) and apologizes. Neither she nor Butler comment on what led to his death.

The Autopsy

As agents drive away with Ashford's body, SUNDANCER orders an impromptu cut-and-gut “autopsy”. Inside the corpse's stomach is a baby-sized statue of hematite or polished jet. Its malevolent form is that of a squat horned fetus-thing with a mole-like face and ragged bat ears. How it got inside him is an unsettling quandry (SAN 1/1D4 overall).

A more than perfunctory study of the statue costs Unnatural SAN 0/1D4 and, for the next month, induces nauseating dreams of fathomless pits, hypergeometric tunnels and an oozing blackness (probably ensuring exhaustion, a sleep disorder or sedative addiction).

The Conclusion

Having recovered the assets – the statue, Butler, Woodbine and Ashford – agents must bring them to a semi-rural service area just outside the city. They are to shake off – or kill – any tails.

The service area is empty. Having ordered the agents to leave the human assets by the public restroom for pick-up, SUNDANCER tells them to take the statue and deposit it at a Green Box about 50 miles away. She ends by telling them to drive fast and not look back, then hangs up.

Fifteen minutes later a drone strike takes out the rest stop. The news the following day claims a terrorist cell accidentally blew themselves up while transporting explosives. After a brief flurry of interest, the incident fades into obscurity.

Agents who were smart, disposed of evidence and evaded the authorities may get out of this OK. Otherwise, their actions will probably see them prosecuted.

But at least they saved the world… right?



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

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