Operation Minoan Augur

Briefing

Midday. Los Angeles. An hour ago someone in an Apollo spacesuit smashed into the home of ex-NASA astronaut Bill Sturgis (46) and hacked him to death with an axe. LAPD friendly Lt. Marcus Monroe smelled a paranormal bouquet. Ascertain if he’s correct.

Background

In May 2011, Space Shuttle Discovery completed its penultimate mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Discovery carried five crew:

  • Bill Sturgis (Commander)
  • Troy O’Connor (Pilot)
  • Devon Bryant (Specialist 1)
  • Yvonne Chin (Specialist 2)
  • Pauline Hagan (Specialist 3)

The ISS had four astronauts:

  • Hank Bingham (USA)
  • Filip Potaski (RUS)
  • Sabina Khostov (RUS)
  • Ana Klebe (EU)

Discovery joined the ISS for five days. On the fourth day, while Potaski and Chin spacewalked to fix a docking-cone, bizarre “dust” passed through the station.

All bold astronauts briefly lost consciousness, subsequently suffering nausea, kinaesthesia and irritability. By the time they returned to Earth the symptoms were gone. Tests found nothing.

Over the years, however, they’ve undergone progressive health issues. Mood-swings. Hallucinations. Physical alterations. Swiss-cheese-like holes opened on their skin, marble-like “eyes” peeking out. Medicine considered it an unknown form of necrotizing fasciitis and recommended regular surgery.

Two weeks ago a “voice” told each host to meet atop the Pinnacle, a Las Vegas casino/hotel. There they would “go home”.

Driven insane, Chin and Potaski agreed.

Sturgis intended to, but the stronger-willed O’Connor – clad in a spacesuit to protect mankind from contamination – freed him with an axe.

Chin and Potaski head for Vegas.

O’Connor pursues them.

At 20:00 tonight (all times PST), wherever the hosts are, their alien parasites hatch – some rising to space, others falling to Earth, making new hosts, restarting the cycle…

Sturgis Residence

Sturgis’ mansion is in LA’s affluent Brentwood district. Cops and CSI are on-scene. Lt. Monroe gets Agents inside, helps with forensics, autopsies, warrants etc.

Sturgis quit NASA in 2012, consulted for aerospace firms, resigned for “health reasons” 8-months ago.

The murder was in the downstairs’ study overlooking the backyard. The room doubles as Sturgis’ bedroom, with an ICU bed, piles of painkillers, oxygen tanks. The French windows are smashed inwards.

Sturgis’ corpse is hacked to bits, set alight with paint-thinner (1/1D4). Dozens of black, marble-size pellets are embedded in his chest and scattered across the floor. (Medicine: they’re organic, flash-hardened by fire.)

Neighborhood CCTV shows someone in a spacesuit park a red Ferrari outside the house and go through the back yard. 10-minutes later they return and drive off.

The vehicle belongs to Dr. H. Anderson, a doctor at Upland Health Commune. The car was reported stolen a half-hour before the murder.

Sturgis’ phone and desktop PC have emails to O’Connor, comments on Chin’s social media: “we need to go home”, “I’m scared”, “meet you at the top of the world.”

Mrs. Sturgis is being interrogated upstairs. She says her husband was sick for years, consigned to his study, eaten away. He was being treated by Dr. Anderson.

She witnessed the killing. When she tried to stop the assailant her husband waved her away – like he wanted to die.

Asked who burned the corpse she admits she did. The astronaut told her to.

Other Astronauts

The Discovery and ISS astronauts are on Wikipedia, active on social media, have jobs etc. They can be contacted with a little effort. Suitable skill-use discovers underlined info:

  • Devon Bryant (37): in Chicago, heads a science charity for schools. Talks about ISS incident.
  • Troy O’Connor (53): ex-USMC pilot. Retired NASA and USMC in 2012. Resident of Upland Health Commune since last year (for cancer). Forwarded by VHA.
  • Pauline Hagan (42): left NASA, now a commander at NS Norfolk, VA. Talks about ISS incident.
  • Yvonne Chin (36): teaches physics at Minnesota University. Hid her illness for years. Began acting weird a month ago, school forcing her to take Sabbatical. Two weeks ago her social media began talking about “returning to space”, “going home” and visiting “the top of the world”. Vanished this morning. Chin has flown to Las Vegas, arriving at 18:00.
  • Hank Bingham (43): lives in Houston doing voice-overs for commercials and documentaries. Refuses to talk about ISS.
  • Sabina Khostov (38): lives in Kazan, Russia. Novelist. Won’t talk about ISS incident but confirms Potaski hospitalized in 2014 for “nervous exhaustion.”
  • Filip Potaski (47): lives in Moscow. On Roscosmos reserve list. Nervous breakdown 2014-2018. Flew to Las Vegas yesterday. Staying at Dewdrop Motel.
  • Ana Klebe: died 2017. Admitted to hospital in 2013. German news implies hospital was an asylum; gossip says she believed herself possessed and died of self-immolation.

NASA/Roscosmos stonewall if asked about ISS incident or health issues, but the Case Officer can pull in a friendly who admits NASA’s covered Sturgis’ and O’Connor’s healthcare the last few years.

Dr. Anderson

Dr. Harvey Anderson is a dermatologic surgeon at Upland Health Commune, north LA. He’s currently taking a long lunch at the exclusive Montrose Country Club.

Reports of Sturgis’ death shock him. They were making progress.

He says Sturgis suffered aggressive, intermittent necrotizing fasciitis.

Asked about his car, the doctor says it went missing from the clinic’s parking lot at 10:30. CCTV shows an astronaut took it. Damn interns pranking him again.

Anderson lets slip it’s bizarre two people could have the same disease in LA. He knows another patient (O’Leary? O’Malley? Something Irish…) at the commune has a similar disease but they’ve never met.

Upland Commune

A private medical commune for the wealthy, bungalows arrayed around the clinic.

The staff acknowledge O’Connor lives here (Bungalow 47) and can phone ahead, receiving no answer. They won’t hand over his address or medical info unless persuaded he’s a danger to himself or others.

Medical records show O’Connor underwent repeated surgery to remove “squamous carcinomas and necrotized flesh” – there are photographs of the holes and “marbles” (1 SAN). His doctors confess they have no idea what his “disease” is.

Clue: O’Connor previously cut his parasites out using a knife, cauterizing with fire. Fire drives them away, for a while.

Bungalow 47’s door is unlocked.

Inside are photographs of O’Connor in USMC uniform and the Discovery crew, medals, and a framed newspaper clipping about a cosplay spacesuit a fan made for him.

A plinth in the corner of the room is empty – the spacesuit stood here until recently.

O’Connor

Around 11:30AM, O’Connor arrives at LAX, wanting to buy a ticket to Minneapolis. TSA tells him he can’t board a flight in a spacesuit. He apologizes and leaves. 20-minutes later, LAX informs LAPD (and by extension, the Agents) their “astronaut” was spotted.

Via the parasites, O’Connor knows where Chin and Potaski are. He’s in intense pain but knows he must burn their bodies before 20:00. He believes his spacesuit will contain his parasites if they hatch.

O’Connor hits Interstate-10 toward Minnesota. Half-an-hour into his drive he turns south for Las Vegas. He’s not inconspicuous; roadblocks might stop him.

He’ll explain his plight and mission to anyone who asks, but refuses to remove his spacesuit. He’ll work with Agents if they promise to burn him before he hatches.

He doesn’t want to hurt non-hosts but will if it’ll save the world.

Las Vegas

Driving LA to Las Vegas takes at least 4-hours. By plane it’s just one-and-a-half.

Filip Potaski’s been in the Dewdrop Motel for 24-hours. Fat, naked, skin like Swiss-cheese, body riddled with holes (1/1D6), he’s gouged out his eyes and sees through the brood. He lazes in the bath (parasites slither from the holes to swim around), watches TV, eats pizza. At 19:00 he dresses, puts on sunglasses, heads for the Pinnacle Casino. He uses the “eyes” in his face and hands to see – people who notice steer clear of him.

Chin lands at McCarran airport at 18:00. She wanders aimlessly for an hour, then meets Filip outside the Top of the World restaurant in the casino. Her lower face and tongue pocked with eyes, she hides behind a surgical mask. At 19:30 she and Filip kill a staffer on the machinery floor for a key-card to the casino’s roof.

There they wait to hatch.

If threatened they fight but intend to get as high as possible above the city.

Assuming O’Connor hasn’t been stopped he is drawn to his “compatriots”, attacking with his axe.

END GAME

Even if a host is dead, the parasites hatch from their corpse at 20:00. Burning afflicted areas delays hatching for 1D3 hours. Total bodily immolation destroys host and parasites.

At 20:00 all three hosts undergo agonizing hatching (1/1D8). Unless the host is somewhere “airtight” (like the spacesuit), their parasites rise as a cloud into the sky.

Some fall to Earth as shimmering dust. Anyone unprotected below (hazmat suits are too flimsy, but cars, a roof, etc. would stop them) suffers 50% chance of infection. Years later, driven mad, these victims too seek a high place to “go home”.

If the astronauts hatch atop the casino, everyone on the Strip is a potential vector.

Stats/NPCs

Lt. MARCUS MONROE, LAPD Incident OIC

STR 11, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 13, POW 12, CHA 13
HP 12, WP 12, SAN 55
SKILLS: Alertness 50%, Criminology 60%, Firearms 50%, HUMINT 60%, Law 30%, Persuade 50%, Unarmed Combat 50%
ATTACKS: Unarmed 50%, 1D4
.45 S&W 4506 50%, 1D10

TROY O’CONNOR, Spacesuit-Vigilante

STR 11, CON 11, DEX 11, INT 14, POW 15, CHA 06
HP 11, WP 15, SAN 18
ARMOR: 3-points of surprisingly tough spacesuit
SKILLS: Alertness 60%, Athletics 50%, Bureaucracy 30%, Craft (Electrician) 40%, Craft (Mechanic) 50%, Craft (Microelectronics) 50%, Drive 50%, Melee 50%, Military Science (Air) 60%, Navigate 50%, Pilot (Airplane) 60%, Science (Meteorology) 60%, Science (Physics) 40%, Swim 40%
ATTACKS: Unarmed 40%, 1D4
Fireman’s Axe 60%, 1D10 AP3
Brood-Swarm 50%, Special
BROOD-LINK: Parasites act like tiny eyes, staring from their holes – their host potentially has a near 360-degree field of vision if they are not covered. Hosts know where other hosts are at all times.
BROOD-SWARM: Parasites swarm from their host, smothering a victim and burrowing into their flesh. The host takes 1HP damage and all individuals within 3-meters are enveloped (unless wearing hazmat suits, etc.), suffering 1D4 damage plus suffocation per round. A successful opposed Athletics roll (against 50%) or lighting a fire escapes the swarm. If a victim loses half their HP to a brood-swam, parasites have burrowed into their flesh, requiring surgical attention. Handler’s decision if permanent infestation occurs. If the host is killed while the parasites are swarming, the parasites continue to attack for 1D4 rounds before expiring.
PYROPHOBIA: The parasites fear open flame and retreat from it unless the host passes a SAN roll. If backed into a corner, however, the host will fight to escape.
SAN loss: 1/1D6 to see what remains of Troy outside his spacesuit.

FILIP POTASKI, Hole-y Russian Astronaut

STR 15, CON 13, DEX 10, INT 12, POW 07, CHA 04
HP 14, WP 07, SAN 12
ARMOR: 2-points of hole-speckled gristly fat
SKILLS: Angrily Tell People Not to Stare 70%, Athletics 50%, Craft (Mechanic) 60%, Drive 40%, Firearms 50%, Foreign Language (English) 40%, Military Science (Russian) 60%, Navigate 40%, Pilot (Airplane) 60%, Unarmed Combat 60%
ATTACKS: Unarmed 60%, 1D4+1
Brood-Swarm 50%, Special
BROOD-LINK: Parasites act like tiny eyes, staring from their holes – their host potentially has a near 360-degree field of vision if they are not covered. Hosts know where other hosts are at all times.
BROOD-SWARM: Parasites swarm from their host, smothering a victim and burrowing into their flesh. The host takes 1HP damage and all individuals within 3-meters are enveloped (unless wearing hazmat suits, etc.), suffering 1D4 damage plus suffocation per round. A successful opposed Athletics roll (against 50%) or lighting a fire escapes the swarm. If a victim loses half their HP to a brood-swam, parasites have burrowed into their flesh, requiring surgical attention. Handler’s decision if permanent infestation occurs. If the host is killed while the parasites are swarming, the parasites continue to attack for 1D4 rounds before expiring.
PYROPHOBIA: The parasites fear open flame and retreat from it unless the host passes a SAN roll. If backed into a corner, however, the host will fight to escape.
SAN loss: 1 SAN to see him clothed, 1 more to see he has no eyes; 1/1D6 to see Filip naked

YVONNE CHIN, Eaten-Away Physicist

STR 10, CON 11, DEX 11, INT 15, POW 08, CHA 07
HP 10, WP 08, SAN 07
SKILLS: Alertness 50%, Athletics 40%, Bureaucracy 60%, Firearms 30%, Science (Astrophysics) 60%, Science (Chemistry) 50%, Science (Physics) 80%, Speak Through Lisp 50%
ATTACKS: Unarmed 40%, 1D4
Ruger 9mm 30%, 1D10 (7-rounds)
Brood-Swarm 50%, Special
BROOD-LINK: Parasites act like tiny eyes, staring from their holes – their host potentially has a near 360-degree field of vision if they are not covered. Hosts know where other hosts are at all times.
BROOD-SWARM: Parasites swarm from their host, smothering a victim and burrowing into their flesh. The host takes 1HP damage and all individuals within 3-meters are enveloped (unless wearing hazmat suits, etc.), suffering 1D4 damage plus suffocation per round. A successful opposed Athletics roll (against 40%) or lighting a fire escapes the swarm. If a victim loses half their HP to a brood-swam, parasites have burrowed into their flesh, requiring surgical attention. Handler’s decision if permanent infestation occurs. If the host is killed while the parasites are swarming, the parasites continue to attack for 1D4 rounds before expiring.
PYROPHOBIA: The parasites fear open flame and retreat from it unless the host passes a SAN roll. If backed into a corner, however, the host will fight to escape.
SAN loss: 1/1D4 to see Yvonne’s “eye” riddled face, hands, tongue

Credits

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

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.