A Program taskforce must clandestinely stop a billionaire’s eco-adventuring stunt: sailing an iceberg to Australia.
The Agents should have professions in Special Forces, Navy, or science fields related to icebergs (oceanography, glaciology, etc.). They are members of the official Delta Green Program, trusted enough to operate independently of command and control. They receive the following briefing at Norfolk Naval Base.
Mike Rydger is Australia’s most famous billionaire. After making his fortune in software, he’s devoted his life to “raising awareness” for environmental issues. He’s done this by undertaking a variety of dangerous global adventure challenges: following the monarch butterfly migration in a solar-powered plane, crossing Africa on horseback, circumnavigating all five oceans in a solo yacht, etc.
Rydger’s latest project – named Anthropocene – is his most ambitious: putting sails on an Antarctic iceberg and sailing it to Sydney Harbor. He’s enlisted a team of cutting-edge high tech sailing experts and glaciologists to achieve this feat and put polar ice cap melt on every front page in the world.
KEY PROJECT PERSONNEL
- Mike Rydger (Australian) - Tech billionaire and eco adventurer. A charming and enthusiastic egotist, with the will and the money to make anything happen. Insists on being called “Mike” by everybody.
- Sarah Pauling (Australian) - Mike’s assistant, the person who turns Rydger’s wild dreams into practical reality. She copes with her impossible job through sarcasm and infinite amounts of coffee.
- Paul Thierry-Lemieux (French Canadian) - Sailing expert, CEO of QV Avancee LLC. In charge of the ultra-advanced sailing rigs on the iceberg. Extremely confident in his gear’s capabilities.
- Dr. Betsy Astrid (American) - Glaciologist. In charge of maintaining the iceberg’s stability during the voyage. Source of intel that brought the project to DG attention.
- Beth Adam-Boscowicz (American ex-pat, Australian) – Media liaison. Formerly affiliated with Sea Shepherd whale protectors. Main contact for Agents in their cover identities.
- Felix, Liam, Nathan, Jacob, Alexis, Olivier (all French Canadian) – Paul’s sail crew.
- Lowanna, Augie, Pyle, Stacie, Melana, Jedda, Gopal (various nationalities) – Interns.
There are no Friendlies among the project personnel. There are no indicators of probable threat from any personnel either, but treat all as potential threat sources.
The iceberg was initially towed north from the Amery Ice Shelf to escape the continental currents. The sail rigs were then deployed and the iceberg has been following course eastward for the past two weeks. For legal purposes, it has been dubbed a ship, SV Anthropocene, and has a nautical transponder. As the iceberg melts, Dr. Astrid plans to use explosives for “controlled calving,” detaching pieces of the iceberg without causing it to disintegrate or capsize.
Adam-Boscowicz is managing Rydger’s plans for publicity and communication. While the venture is far too complex to be a secret, Rydger’s strategy is to keep a low profile until the voyage is closer to completion, so that the arrival at Sydney causes a global media shock. As such, A-B is keeping a fairly tight lid on outside communication. We are exploiting this situation.
Four weeks ago Dr. Astrid sent a photo message to an old colleague at NOAA, containing an image from a cavity within the iceberg. There are unusual distortions in the surface, and there appears to be a dark, wavy Object embedded deep within the ice wall. The NOAA scientist ran the image through a recognition database, and results raised a flag on the Program’s interest list. It was passed to Office of Naval Intelligence for SIGINT/ARCHINT analysis. It has now been assessed as a top priority immediate action item.
Your team will infiltrate Anthropocene. Collect intel on the Object, assess and secure it if possible, and neutralize any discovered threats. Nature of possible threats is unknown, but assume highest danger. Complete mission before Anthropocene nears any population centers.
Mission is absolutely covert. All Agents considered deniable. OpSec is top priority. Under no circumstances should your affiliation or mission parameters be communicated to any person outside the team.
PsyOps has convinced Rydger and A-B to add an embedded documentary news team to film the voyage. You are an adventure news crew with EDGE News. You will fly to Perth, Australia. Study your identity and background folders on the flight. On arrival in Perth, OpSec adherence to the cover legend begins. There you will board a civilian long-range chopper for Anthropocene. All mission equipment must be justifiable under your cover identities or else disguised.
- Audiovisual equipment. Cameras, microphones, laptops, etc.
- Data collection equipment. Spectrograph, Geiger counter, EMF detector, etc. Disguised as AV equipment.
- Cold weather personal and survival gear.
- Weaponry. Firearms and explosives as requisitioned by Agents. Disguised as AV equipment or survival gear.
- Special Equipment – One (1) inscribed clay tablet, 12x9.5x2 inches. Contained in black opaque plastic bag, within protective case. Usage Instructions: DO NOT remove from container until ready to use on-sight. Remove and unwrap tablet. Expose symbol on tablet to Object. Observe and record any interaction.
All locations are connected with flag-marked tether lines.
- Main Camp. Rigid insulated structures for control and communication, dining, sleeping, etc. Includes helipad and radio tower.
- Sailing Masts. Twenty masts secured into the ice surface. Rigged with smart-sail mechanical metamaterials, and equipped with electronic remote control systems.
- Emergency Evacuation Systems. Rapid-inflating lifeboats attached to rappelling winches to lower them down the 60-foot sides of the iceberg. Located at Main Camp and Sailing Masts.
- Ice Crevasse. Site of Dr. Astrid’s photograph. Likely location of Object.
- Controlled Calving Site. On opposite side of iceberg from main camp. Currently being prepared with electronically-triggered explosives.
There is no Object for the Agents to observe or analyze. The iceberg contains a colony of semi-corporeal creatures living within its glacial ice. They are not a species known to Delta Green. They appear as dark blurry shapes floating deep within the ice. They will show up on video and photography, and leave inexplicable results on spectrographic equipment.
The creatures have total physical control over the glacial ice. They can instantaneously melt and freeze the ice, make it move and flow in both solid and liquid forms, shape it into complex structures, and shift the entire iceberg’s center of gravity. They can also change the ionization of the ice to cause massive electromagnetic pulses. They cannot directly control any matter that is not part of their native glacier, such as the snow-covered top surface or the man-made structures of the project.
None of the humans on Anthropocene are aware of the creatures. Dr. Astrid caught a glimpse of one in her photograph, but she thought it was only an unusual optical effect. So far, the creatures are unaware of the humans as well. They do not strongly interact with forms of matter besides ice, and have difficulty perceiving our material world.
The tablet carried by the Agents will change this. If the Elder Sign on its surface is visually exposed to the glacial mass, it acts as a weapon disrupting their control of the ice and rapidly melting it away like a blowtorch. The creatures will perceive this action and assume that they are under attack by Elder Things (who attempted to exterminate their species in prehistoric Antarctica). If the tablet is unused, the creatures will also reach this assumption when the first “controlled calving” explosion occurs the day after the Agents arrive. In either case, their defensive reaction will be rapid and deadly.
They will first use the ice to attack anyone in proximity to the Elder Sign. They can perceive the Tablet’s location, but not the Agents themselves, so they will create fumbling masses of sharp spikes and throw them around the general area. If the Agents are within a crevasse or chamber, they may try to seal it and crush the Agents within.
The creatures will then turn their attention to the rest of the project, noticing the various electromagnetic and heat sources coming from the project’s equipment. They will generate several EMP pulses that will successively knock out all the electronic equipment on the iceberg (and will trigger any explosives connected to electronic detonators). After this, they will begin the process of capsizing the iceberg, which will certainly kill anyone remaining on its surface.
The Agents have a very short time window to escape Anthropocene and save the project crew. Various crew members may be stranded on the crumbling sailing masts, in the operational or residential structures, or half-frozen into the exposed surface of the controlled calving site. The Agents must get themselves and any survivors into the emergency escape rafts and lower them down the massive sides of the iceberg before it flips over and kills them all.
As the survivors flee in their rafts, they may behold the iceberg’s underside, twisting and writhing into wild impossible formations before their uncomprehending eyes. They will then have to survive upon the frigid Southern Ocean for many days before being rescued.
This is an entry to the 2016 shotgun scenario contest. Written by Ethan Cordray.