From: Ngo Vinh-Hoi
From Agent Vivian:
A DG-friendly Special Forces officer assigned to the Joint Casualty Resolution Centre in Hanoi has come across an Item of Mutual Interest whilst combing People's Army of Vietnam's (henceforth referred to as the PAVN) archives for documents relating to the fate of American MIAs. A fragment of the field report filed by the 1959 PAVN expedition which first scouted what is now commonly known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail indicates that they suffered high casualties when they came into conflict with a hill tribe known as the Nguoi Trau Den.
The DG-friendly became intrigued because this is same area where several MACV-SOG patrols disappeared a decade later. Notably, while PAVN documents are usually very precise, sometimes even to the point of being pedantic, this field report was in fact quite vague as to the specifics of this incident. Further information was not immediately available since the archives are not well catalogued and are deteriorating due to local environmental factors. The DG-friendly is following up and suggests that it may even be possible to locate and interview surviving members of the expedition, providing that the Vietnamese Government is cooperative. Of course, this is a longterm proposition.
None of my available sources list the Nguoi Trau Den among the 50+ ethnic minorities that are indigenous to Vietnam, but a query was posted to Agent Victor, who replied as follows:
It is not surprising that the Nguoi Trau Den are not referred to in any of the standard sources. They are so universally despised by the other hill tribes that they are generally attacked on sight whenever they come down from the mountaintops. So it's unlikely that any members of the Nguoi Trau Den ever came into contact with foreign ethnologists. It makes you wonder how they became so geographically widespread throughout South East Asia, doesn't it?
"Nguoi Trau Den" is a Vietnamese term which roughly translated means "Black Buffalo People", which is also curious, since they are not generally known as buffalo herders. "Trau" (roughly pronounced "cho" by you roundeyes) is most likely a transliteration of their own name for themselves, which, IIRC, is unrelated to any of the major language groups of SE Asia.
As for what I think of them, if you'd ever met one, you'd agree with me when I say fuck it, kill them all.
Be seeing you,
Agent Victor is currently on a non-DG operation and unavailable for further commentary, but I think that this snippet of information, however tenuous, warrants further investigation—perhaps Alphonse has something to add? I will urge our DG-friendly to press on as much as possible without alarming Hanoi, while I'll continue with the resources at hand.
Be seeing you,
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 15:35:23 -0400
From: Ngo Vinh-Hoi
For keepers who are interested, before the DG book came out I had been planning a one-shot scenario based the original People's Army of Viet Nam (PAVN, more commonly known here as the NVA) expedition which scouted what came to be know as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Imagine the spooky feeling I had when just such an incident was referred to in the DG book! In any event, if anyone is interested, I'll be happy to go back to my notes and unearth the true story what happened when that expedition encountered the Tcho-Tchos in the high dark hills…