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Angels in the Trees
Author: Eamon Honan
System: SLA Industries
Things are different out in the jungle. Things seem somehow distant and less real. Or maybe it's that they become more real and everything else becomes muted. A very different SLA Industries scenario.
"A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil."
"How to Tell a True War Story" by Sargent Tim O’Brien
WARNING: This scenario contains elements of the TRUTH as revealed in the SLA Industries writers guidelines, GMs or players who think that learning about the truth will spoil their enjoyment of the game should not read this scenario.
INTRODUCTION & HOW TO RUN
This scenario is splint into three acts.
Act 1 - The characters get their mission. Hop on the chopper, nearly get fuckin’ killed. Arrive Firebase D6.
Act 2 - The player investigate D6, find out about it’s people and it’s stories. They live through a night attack, do some chores, find evidence of the Night Tripper.
Act 3 - Go lookin’ for the Night Tripper. May be die, may be not, maybe kill him, maybe not. They go home.....maybe not.
The characters are a Recon element of the 45th Air Cavalry on the Charlie’s Point warworld. Charlie’s Point is a backwater, you only see it on late night 3rd Eye specials, it lacks the glamour of the big names like Dante or Cross. As a planet it does have some useful resources, particularly in terms of the biogenetic harvest to be reaped from it’s native flora and fauna, for that reason, most of the fighting is low level company level type stuff, with little of no atomical, biological or chemical action.
The players are being detached form their unit to hunt down a Dark Night soldier called the Night Tripper. The Night Tripper is a legend...he’s a...
...soldier who lives entirely at night, never opening his eyes in the day, so that the visual purple in his eyes has reached incredible levels. He drives around Charlie’s Point in a battered jeep with twin .50 cal machine guns in the back. He chews through platoons, companies, sections with machine gun fire, no-one ever gets away...but he’s a...
...Ebb user, a widow makin’ heart breakin’ brain waster who was going to become a Necanthrope some time, but the nightmares got him first. He used to be on our side. Now he walks the earth, his combat pockets full of .50 cal and his mind full of Demons that the Necanthropes put there. You can hear him walkin’ in the night, clinkin’ as he steps, every so often he’ll come up on a patrol dip into his pocket and use his ebb abilities to make the bullets go supersonic handfuls at a time....but really he’s a...
...sniper, used to be one of ours before the combat drugs and the Dark Night propaganda got to him. He was part of one of the original infantry battalions posted here. Now he stalks us in the night, he’s camo’ed up to here, sneakin’ around in a ECM suit and a scout helmet killing people with an old style .50 cal SureKill. It was the combat drugs that did it, the old ones that flattened your personality, cracked it like glass until you were a super-soldier, devoid of feeling owned in the soul by SLA...
...everybody has a story about the Night Tripper. But nobody knows anything for sure. For all the characters know they could be hunting a myth.
The problem is that all the stories are true.
The Night Tripper is a real person, he exists outside the hallucination that is The World of Progress. He was an elderly patient in the sanitarium where the experiment that created Mr. Slayer, Bitterness, White Earth and all the rest. A deserter from the British Army during the Second World War, he was wracked with guilt over his spinelessness. As he grew older, the guilt gnawed at him and he was eventually committed by his embarrassed family. He sitsa in the sanitarium, a grey building housing the insane that smells of death and aging maniacs. The wonder drug gave him a chance to redeem himself. He created fantasy after fantasy, mythic world where he did his duty, stood by his friends and was “a good soldier”.
The Good Soldier is every where on Charlie’s Point, he’s the Sargent who teaches you to tell the difference between the incoming and the outgoing, the kid marine who lends you his razor ‘cos you’ve lost yours, the guy who passes around a hip-flask during a bombardment, decent guys, not heroes, but good men. The Night Tripper is the nightmare half of The Good Soldier. He shoots in the dark, sets booby traps, takes no prisoners, has no honour, no code and no religion, kills indiscriminately, soldier, civilian, man, woman and child. He is everywhere too, a thousand different ways of sticky death waiting for you on Charlie’s Point.
The players were destined for a way point D 2384 7293, right in the middle of the jungle. However their airlift has been detoured to Firebase Delta Six. D6 is a firebase that offers artillery support to SLA troops in the surrounding area, it holds a dug in mobile artillery company and has an infantry platoon on call for security. A hotshot medic called Ballard cooked up some homemade Personal Interest for his infantry buddies for use during a lull in the fighting. However the lab facilities were not too hygienic and the batch got contaminated. The drug worked just fine, but it also gave the user a severe case of Alzeimers. Right now, half the company have forgotten who they are and the firebase is dangerously under manned. The players have been drafted in for two days while relief is organised.
There is a very small larp element at the beginning of the scenario, mostly just to help the players into the idea that they’re aren’t their own masters and give them a rough idea of what Charlie’s Point is like. During the GM’s briefing, there are three positions to be given out, Company Sargent, Quartermaster Sargent and Gunnery Sargent. I should be able to provide some military gear (at least Berets and name and rank tags) for the GM’s to wear. I will be playing Captain Donelly, who will be giving them a lecture on “Why we are on Charlie’s Point”.
Once the game has been announced, the sergeants should go off and locate the players and corral them outside the game room. There is a “mail call” where one of the sergeants hands out character sheets in envelopes. The players should be split up into six man “squads” at this point.
The players are then marched in the play area which will be set up like a lecture hall. The players are instructed to sit down and are given a five minutes lecture on “Why we are on Charlie’s Point”. The point of this is to get the background across quickly, give them an idea of what Charlie’s Point is like as a place and get across some of the feeling of being blatantly lied to by your superiors.
The players are then marched out of the game room accompanied by the sargents. While I (Captain Red) set up the game area as usual (table, seven chairs and so forth) and turn on a helecopter rotor sound effect on the CD player.
As this is happening the GM/sergeants will be making the players jog up and down outside the game area to the tune of...
Moma, moma, can’t you see ?
Your sons gone to LAD.
He’ll come back a better soldier.
Who gives a damn if he is colder.
One Two Three Four
One Two THREE FOUR
Once I’ve got the game area set up. I’ll open the door and start yelling at the players. “Recon, report for immediate dust off”. The sergeants tear into the players and shoving them into seats, screaming at them “Get in the fucking bird, GO ! GO ! GO !” while the helicopter sound effect gets louder and louder. Once the players are all seated, the sergeants should do a quick check and make sure that they have all the players in the right squad. The helicopter effects is slowly faded out at this point and the game proper begins.
SCENE 1. HOPPIN' ON THE BIRD
PURPOSE: This scene is like an establishing shot, it's too ease the players into their characters and give them some idea of what life on Charlie’s Point is like as well as introduce them to Duke, the door gunner. Duke is an excuse to make the players talk in character and swap some war stories.
This scene starts in Control, the characters are lounging around by one of the many helipads that surround the base. The players have been kicked around Control so often in the last few days that they have no idea where they are and if they ask no-one else will know, or they will give contradictory answers. The characters can just sit around and chat for few minutes.
Given that the players have already larped getting into the Chopper, you may want to skip this or play it in flashback. The idea is to give the players a few minutes to concentrate on getting into character without having to focus on something else at the time.
However you play it, sooner or later the players will get approached by a lieutenant from Control who will deliver the units orders. If anybody checks their watch they'll realise it's 16.57 and Helipad 316 is about 600 yards away. They'll have to grab their gear and leg it down to the Chopper. By the time the arrive, the Chopper pilot is getting is bored and has cranked up the engine. He's hovering a few inches off the ground. The characters can chuck their stuff in and get moving. Duke the door gunner will be yelling at them constantly "Where the fuck were you guys ?"
NPC: LANCE CORPORAL "DUKE" WILLIAMS
Duke is a door gunner and like all door gunners he's as mad as a hatter. Big, overfed and happy Duke loves the war. Back home he was a poor unemployed civilian, here he has a mission, a reason for being, respect (being a door gunner carries a certain amount of glamour with it), there's nothing Duke likes better then flying into a hot LZ and really "gettin' some".
The man also doesn't have a nerve in his body, he deliberately doesn't wear a safety harness and wanders around the Chopper while it is flight, just to freak out the ground pounders. He is also extremely talkative and will strike up a conversation with any character who looks like he might be interesting. Try and get the players to flesh out their characters here, make up some war stories and stuff, just to let them get a feel of the character.
As soon as the Chopper takes off, Duke will wander about and check that everybody is hooked (there are only two seats in the bird, so everybody will be on the bungee cord things) and masked up (they'll only be flying through the mist for about 30 seconds and they should be on top pretty quickly).
The flight is going to take a few hours (until about 10 pm) and there are a few things that will happen along the way.
1. Duke will try and get the characters to talk about what they're up to and so on.
2. Red may have to explain where they're going and what the hell they're up to.
3. Duke could tell the guys a story about the Night Tripper (see appendices)
4. The guys could swop Night Tripper/War stories.
5. If things get boring, have Duke surreptitiously attach a bungee cord to himself and then pretend to fall out of the Chopper. This should give the characters a scare and give Duke some material for slagging them on the trip. He has that kind of sense of humour.
6. The pilot will get a radio message from Control to detour to Firebase Dee Six. Control have just been informed of the "accident". After running the numbers they figure that Dee Six can remain operation, it just won't have a security detail, so the characters are punted off to Dee Six for a couple of days. These orders are coming from a Division Commander and supercede the characters current orders. Of course they won't know that until they get the faxed confirmation at Dee Six, they'll only have the pilots word for it. Unfortunately the pilot won't even think to tell them this (they're dumb ass shit eatin' grunts, why the fuck should he give them the time of day) unless they ask. Of course, the characters will have no idea where they are, they can't see the ground (mist...clouds all around as far as the eye can see).
SCENE 2. DETOUR TO DEE SIX ON AN EXPRESS ELEVATOR TO HELL
PURPOSE: What you're trying to do in this scene is get the characters to Dee Six and while you're doing it show them how helpless they are. First, their orders are countermanded and they are dropped in a strange firebase, secondly they're nearly killed on the Chopper ride to the fire base and there is really nothing they can do to save themselves except sit tight and pray.
Dee Six is a fire base on a hill surrounded by other hills. There are a couple of valleys around it. The firebase have 8 155 "Long Tom" artillery pieces that can hit anything within 30-40 kilometres or so. The idea being that SLA company militia patrols wander through the jungle, make contact with the enemy, sit tight and call in artillery from the nearest firebase.
Being on a firebase is really boring duty, punctuated by brief periods of frantic activity when contact is made and the gunners feed shells into the guns through the night as the infantry plead over the radio for help. The base has low grade tension that permeates everything, the sickening constant fear of ground attack, if Dark Night really wanted Dee Six they could take it and everybody knows it. The men of Dee Six live on sufferance.
The hills and valleys surrounding Dee Six are scattered with Dark Night guerrillas, none of them are particularly heavily armed, but they're enough to keep the SLA artillery boys from patrolling too aggressively in the area. The characters Chopper is coming down one of those valleys. Duke will warn the characters that they're nearing the LZ and to mask up as they'll be dropping through the mist soon. They'll drop through the mist and start barreling down the valley towards the base. Duke will go over and grab the door gun.
Of course, a low flying aircraft is too much of a temptation for the Dark Night guerrillas and they turn their assault rifles on the Chopper. As soon as the ground fire starts Duke will start hammering auto fire into the tree line screaming "Get some !", "Get some!" The small arms fire doesn't bother the Chopper at all, but it does look kinda of beautiful and scary at the same time. The bullets beat a tattoo on the belly of the Chopper and the muzzle flash illuminates the screaming figure at the door. The Chopper is tossed around (you may want to lose some lose articles of equipment) and Dukes fire is near constant, deafening the character with a stream of tracers. It's not that effective at suppressing the Dark Night fire, but the Dark Night fire isn't that effective anyway.
That is until one of the valleys few anti-aircraft guns starts up on the Chopper. There's a 30mm cannon near Dee Six and the players can watch the red tracers get closer and closer. The pilot starts taking evasive action, but eventually they catch him. They're just about to land at Dee Six when they're caught by the fire, cannon shells stitch their way across the fuselage and through the armoured belly of the Chopper. None of the player his hit, but Duke takes a shell right through the foot.
NOTE: You might want to describe the shells tracing a line across the Chopper floor, parallel to the characters, they have a split second to realise that Duke is in the line of tracers. They can yell a warning (Duke won't hear them), try and push him out of the way (they'll both get shot) or just stare in horrified silence.
He falls screaming to the floor of the Chopper holding (what remains of) his foot, blood spraying everywhere. There are a couple of things the players can do.
1. Tend to Duke. This will be appreciated, because Duke will NOT get off the bird to get medical attention in Dee Six (he's a door gunner, they're superstitious like that).
2. Grab the door gun and keep on blasting. This will probably make the characters feel better and while it won't be terribly effective, it'll put the Dark Night AA gunners off a bit.
About two minutes after Duke is hit, they land in Dee Six. The pilot will yell at them to get off the bird. The Dee Six crew will be there to grab them and get them under cover as Dark Night will be mortaring the firebase. Nothing serious, but you wouldn’t want to hang around in it.
When the players arrive at Dee Six, there’s a few things they might want to find out.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING HERE ?
The characters are probably wondering what they’re doing here. Weren’t they meant to go Darky huntin’ in the bush ? The characters should now be told about how they’ve been transferred for a few days. Only Moma Troop knows this, anybody else will just refer them to her. She’ll take Red into the communications post and give him his new orders. Officially the Captain is giving Red the orders, but he just sits at his desk, pale and lifeless, while Moma Troop says things like... “...the Captain feels...”
GONNA GET ME A PLACE TO LAY MY HEAD.
Now that they know they’ll be sitting sentry duty on a Firebase for a few days, the characters are going to need a place to sleep. There’s an empty hooch and there’s a hooch which Warbaby and Two-A-Day are living in. The characters can take either one, but Warbaby and Two-A-Day would appreciate the company and will wander over to talk even if the players are in the empty hooch.
SCENE 3. CRAZY LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER
PURPOSE: This scene is about boredom. There’s an awful lot of boredom in the army.
Simply put the characters sit around and shoot the breeze with Warbaby and Two-A-Day for the best part of an hour. They have to normal stuff, like setting up the hooch and figuring out who’s on sentry duty when. The characters will be there for three nights, each man does eight hours duty for one night. The characters have to man two of the bases six machine gun nests. If they piss Moma Troop off, I’m sure she can find some latrines for them to dig or empty.
Other then that the characters are free to explore D6 and talk to people. This should be a nice opportunity for some role-playing. Here are a couple of stories that they could hear.
(Note: Only the bare outline of the stories are here. Add details and characterisation depending on who’s telling the story. Make them your own.)
What’s the story with D6 ?
D6 is a firebase that was put down here about 18 months ago to provide fire support for search and destroy missions in the area. Darky’s been putting a big push through these area recently, the entire base is surrounded. Darky could take it anytime he likes, but he doesn’t want to, yet. Everybody’s scared. These days Dark Night just throws a probing attack at the wire every few nights, retreats when it gets beaten off and waits. Dark Night will come in and get us when Dark Night is good and ready.
Why are all those sick guys in the Medical Tent ?
See the GM’s introduction.
Why is the Captain so fucked up ?
The Captain got hit by a sniper about six months ago. BAM 10mm right through the right eye. We tagged him and got him on the LAD chopper as fast as we could, but it got hit by AA fire on the way out and the engine was damaged. They survived, but Capt. didn’t get to LAD on time. They patched him up, but he’s dead really, the only reason they brought him back was because Sargent Cassidy refused to believe it. His body’s alive, his mind is shot. Cassidy (AKA Moma Troop) was in love with the captain, still is and she acts likes he’s alive and issues orders in his name. Camp rumourmill says shes sleeping with him. Any way D6 is too small time for anyone in HQ to care. Poor Willis, the company trumpeter, blew Taps (The Last Post) for the Captain when he came back. Moma Troop put him on sentry for two weeks.
Why does Two-A-Day believe in HIM ? (heard only from Two-A-Day)
A year ago I was coming back from a three day pass back in Central when the truck I was in was attacked by Dark Night terrorists. A B40 rocket ran right into the back of the truck and exploded. 14 men were killed. I was blown free. I lost all the fillings in my teeth. When a rocket comes into the back of your truck and all you lose is your fillings, you gotta believe in HIM.
Why does Warbaby sleep in his birthday suit ?
The fool says he can’t stand the filth in the jungle. You know what I mean, none of use got a chance to wash our clothes or nothing for a couple of weeks. Warbaby says he’ll live with it, but he won’t sleep in it. This one time about a month ago, Dark Night threw a probe up through the wire, squad of infiltrators, capped the sentry in the head as soon as they were spotted. They were cutting the wire and blowing up the mines, trying to break the line. As soon as he heard the shots, Warbaby jumped out of his crib, stuck his helmet on and legged it out to a fox hole. Mortars had just started dropping shell inside the wire at this point. Warbaby runs across to the machine gun nest, buck naked dick swingin’ in the wind and grabs the pig. He starts cappin’ away at the probe, killing them real good. Dark Night guys mustn’t a known what to think crazy naked fool with a machine gun shooting at them. They ran all the same.
SCENE 4. THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE GUNNER
PURPOSE: The purpose of this scene is to make the characters feel scared and alone. It’s also meant to give them an idea of why the worst thing in the world is to have nothing to do.
The characters are going to be bedded down in Dee Six for about three or four days. During that time they will be acting as the security detail for the Firebase. One of their duties is manning the machinegun nest that covers the main approach to the base. It’s a one man job. The sentry mans a pig and a bank of switches. The switches control the claymore anti-personnel mines in the mine field ahead of the nest. Sentry duty is an eight hour shift and you have to stay alert and frosty because base scuttlebutt is full of stories of bad shit that can happen when you’re on sentry and you fall asleep.
Darky can sneak in and turn the claymores around , so you blow yourself to hell when they’re triggered. Infiltrators can sneak in take out the nest and leave the base open to ground attack. Of course if anybody ever catches you falling asleep on duty, the best thing that will happen to you is that you’ll be shunned by your comrades. Nothing much happens on sentry duty (with one exception see SOME MOTHERS SON), but here are a few things you can get up to.
Better living through bio-chemistry
If they really feel the need the characters can see if they can’t score some drugs from Two-A-Day. While they are officially frowned upon, it is perfectly normal. Everybody needs a little something to get them through the night. Two-A-Day will give them a choice between Dexedrine and Benzedrine, those are the only pills that he’s got that will keep you awake without making you unfit for duty. The drugs (for game purposes we’ll consider them identical) work fine, the soldier will be alert. There are a few disadvantages though, firstly the character will feel overconfident possibly to the extent of claiming to invulnerable (depends on the person). Secondly, they will be wired and any sudden sound or movement can launch them in to a bizarre paranoid spiral of mouth drying fear. Lastly, the come down is a bitch, the character will want to sleep and will be edgy and irritable for a few hours later. Of course, the strak infantry soldier can rely on coffee if he wishes.
One man Karma Sutra.
Jerking off on sentry duty is one way of keeping awake. After many long hot hours in the bush, the seasoned sentry has learned to prolong the experience to keep boredom at bay for longer and to prevent friction burns caused by too many repeat performances. It’s not as frowned on as the use of non stimulant drugs, mainly because it’s far more common. It keeps you awake, if not alert and accounts for the somewhat funky smell in the fox hole. Soldiers who accidentally fire during sentry duty, will get taunted about this. “What were you firing at ? Your fantasy ?”
A Psychological Warfare chopper flies low over the jungle, lights off, broadcasting a loop of tape. “Dark Night guerrillas. Lay down your arms. We do not wish to harm you. We can offer you a better life with SLA. Dark Night guerrillas. Lay down your arms...” Within three repeats of the statement, the valley is alive with tracers searching for the chopper. Every Darky in the trees is trying to take it down. At which point the chopper circles round and comes down low over the jungle again, the voice of a crying baby screaming out of the loud speakers. Anyone who hears it gets a sudden dose of the night terrors, ice water sweats, the voice of the howling child like an icepick in their brain. The chopper circles for half an hour and leaves.
“Did I see..?”
This is the easiest trick to pull on the player is to toy with him. Let him think he saw something, make his eyes play tricks on him, let him strain into the darkness, trying to discern a silhouette. Night vision, IR, starscopes will all come up nothing. But the player should still be convinced that something’s there.
SCENE 5. SOME MOTHERS SON
PURPOSE: To scare the players and give them a little bit of a taste of a ground attack.
One night when one of the characters is on sentry duty, he spots something. It’s a trio of Dark Night infiltrators who are just about to cut the wire. The character has a couple of choices, he can either detonate the mines, open fire with his FEN or open up with the Pig. Either way, the Darkys don’t stand a chance. They’re in open ground. They don’t know they’ve been spotted yet. They’re dead men walking. No matter what the character does he’s got them cold.
If out of common decency he fires a warning shot or tries to get them to surrender, they’ll panic and bolt. If he lets them go, they disappear off into the jungle and no one is any the wiser. If he ignores them, they sneak in and turn the claymores around. If he opens up, they’re dead.
Regardless of what the character shoots them with, the Dark Night guys will make a run for it and be cut down. Two of them will be killed and one will be caught on the wire and shot/blown up.
Once the alarm has been raised, the entire base, such as it is, will wake up and man their posts. Moma Troop will demand a “mad minute”, she’s convinced that there’s Dark Night Infiltrators all around the base.
MAD MINUTE: Otherwise known as “exploration by fire” involves the troops taking every weapon they have and emptying it into the greenery around them to make sure there are no bad guys in the bushes.
Once the minute is over, Moma Troop will stand the base down and tell the sentry to return to his post. After about five minutes, silence returns to the jungle, except for the Dark Night guy on the wire. The Darky on the wire was gut shot and is in a lot of pain. As the sentry sits in his hole in the dark, all he can hear is the young man on the wire moans “Moma, moma, moma…” through the night. The kid’s delirious and will die just before morning. But he’ll keep on weeping until then.
SCENE 6. A HUNTIN' WILL SHALL GO
PURPOSE: The characters finally get to do the mission that they were actually sent here to do.
This scene is almost entirely freeform. After three days at D6, the characters will be told to get their gear together because a chopper is coming to pick them up. There’s been a possible sighting of the NightTripper at D 2385 7598, near their original way point.
How you run this is entirely up to you. The characters will have to go patrolling looking for the NiftyTripper. Depending on how much time you have left, it could take them a few days or maybe just a couple of hours. It doesn’t matter, he knows where they are and will be stalking them as soon as they get off the chopper.
The NightTripper only attacks at night towards the fag end of the day, just as the squad have stopped patrolling and are beginning to relax a bit. Before he attacks, it begins to rain (it may have been raining already if you prefer) and there’s the beginnings of a colour storm in the air. The storm clouds mix up with the mist and lightning lights up the sky with a terrific wash of colour. Coincidentally, the rain cuts visibility down to a couple of metres and the colour storm blocks out radio signals. While the storm lasts, the characters won’t be able to get LAD cover, call for fire support or help. Let the characters report that they have made contact and then cut the line.
How to run the fight with the NightTripper.
The Night Tripper knows where the characters are at all times, he’s been stalking them ever since they got off the chopper, he will always get the first shot.
The colour storm is a creation of the NightTripper. If the characters are doing well, the storm begins to clear. If they’re doing badly, it lashes down more intensely then before. Change the storm to suit the characters mood.
The Night Tripper is equipped with a large calibre sniper rifle, he can hit target at range of around 1.5 km. At that range, the characters will have no idea where the fire is coming from because the fire will be angled (like a mortar) so that the bullet drops down on top of the character.
The job of a sniper is to demoralise and too occupy enemy forces for as long as possible. Where possible, the NightTripper will shoot to wound. A wounded man ties his comrades down, they won’t be able to move far if they have to bring a wounded man with them.
If one of the characters ends up in an exposed position, the NightTripper will set up a “honeypot” trap. He will wound the exposed soldier and then let one of his friends get close enough to help him. When the rest of the squad see that the second man hasn’t been shot, they’ll think the snipers moved and go over and help. This brings the entire squad out of cover and leaves them at the Night Trippers mercy. The duel with the sniper at the end of Full Metal Jacket is an example of the honey pot trap.
The Night Tripper will obviously concentrate his fire on those who seem likely to do him harm, the guy operating the squad automatic being an obvious choice.
Ultimately, the characters are never going to know where the NightTripper is and it’s very unlikely that they’ll be able to shoot him. They can not defeat him with guns because he’s not a normal man, the Night Tripper is a legend, as much a part of Charlie’s Point as the jungle, Darky or FENs. He lives on cowardice, rapine and treachery. The characters don’t have to come up with a tactically sound plan to defeat the NightTripper. They just have to be good soldiers. If they work together, watch their buddies backs and try and make sure that everybody comes out alive, they’ll win. If they don’t and they start turning on each other and the group falls apart because of infighting and recriminations, they’ll die. The NightTripper will hunt them down, kill them and they’ll each die alone in the jungle.
If the characters do work together, they should start to get a fix on where the NightTrippers fire is coming from. They will probably be conducting a mad minute at this point, hosing the area in the hope of hitting the sniper. As they do so, the radio crackles and the characters get a message across the comm-net.
“Recon Patrol Two Sixty. You have contact with NightTripper ? Confirm ? This is Fighter Bomber wing Hush Puppy preparing to lay a napalm strike on your co-ordinates. You have contact ? Confirm ? Please relay NightTripper co-ordinates and we’ll barbecue that motherfucker. Over.”
The characters should have few if any problems about carpeting the NightTripper position with napalm. As soon as they call in the co-ordinates, Hush Puppy will confirm receipt of the map reference and lay down the napalm strike. About two hundred yards too close to the characters position. The characters won’t actually be hit by the napalm, but should be knocked out by the concussion from the explosion.
SCENE 7. WE GOTTA GET OUTTA THIS PLACE
PURPOSE: To get the characters on the Freedom Bird back to Control.
Just before dawn, the next morning, the characters wake to find a mass of blackened and scorched jungle ahead of them. Let them wander about for a while, get their bearings and tend to the wounded. About 500 yards away from their position, they can find a few scattered .50 cal shell casings and a Lee Enfield .303 rifle. There’s a blood trail leading away into the bush. If the characters follow it, it continues for a few hundred yards and then just peters out. Evil isn’t something you can kill with bullets.
Once they’ve been conscious for about twenty minutes or so, the radio crackles again (the com-net will not respond to any character messages before then) and the characters hear.
“Recon Patrol Two Sixty. This is Freedom Bird. We’re coming in to pick you up. Do you have a confirmed kill ? Repeat do you have a confirmed kill ? Over.”
Let the characters decide (give them about two minutes to argue it out) whether to claim the kill or not. If they confirm it, they’re in line for medal at least. If they don’t, High Command aren’t too worried, by the time the story gets to Third Eye, the kill will have been confirmed.
The chopper comes down out of the mist and picks the characters up. As the limp towards the chopper, a friendly bellow rings out from the door gunner. It’s Duke, LAD fixed him up with a new foot and he’s back in action. He greets the characters and bundles them on board the chopper, making sure everybody’s got their masks on before they go through the mist.
As the chopper climbs through the mist, the Sun rises over Charlie’s Point and the poison gas is shot through with a rainbow, becoming a sea of yellow and red beneath the characters feet. They should feel glad to be alive.
FROM: Captain Simon Fuller 87th Airborne Company Militia
RE: Dark Night Operations in the area Corps 1 D 592 329 (spec. "The Night Tripper")
CC: Major Victor Levis General Staff Control
Intelligence reports indicate that Dark Night forces, in particular, a Dark Night operative known as "The Night Tripper" have been operating in the Corps 1 D 592 329 area. "The Night Tripper" has been harassing our forces in that area of operations for some weeks now. You are to travel to D 592 329 locate and render ineffective the Dark Night operative or operatives in the area, specifically the operative known as "The Night Tripper".
You are to depart immediately via Heli-pad 316 at 1700 hours.
PEOPLE AND PLACES
DEE SIX - LOST FIREBASE
D6 is a firebase in a backwater sector. It lives on sufferance. Dark Night could take it a single night if they wanted, but it as yet its not worth their while. D6 is on a hill that lies at the end of valley. It’s a small base. There’s a command post with a satellite dish, an ammo dump, latrines, cookhouse, a medical tent, a few hooches and six 125mm “Long Tom” Artillery pieces. The base is surrounded by machine gun nests, barbed wire and minefields.
Moma Troop and Cap sleep in the command post. It’s where all the communications equipment is kept.
The ammo dump is where all the 125mm ammo is stowed away. There’s stacks of boxes of FEN and Pig ammo about the place as well.
The hooches are where the troops sleep. Sunk down five feet under the ground, they have earth laid over the corrugated iron roof to take mortar fragments. The hooches are OK, they’re lit by oil lamps and have camp beds in them. They sleep eight.
TWO-A-DAY - LAID BACK GRUNT
Two-A-Day is so called because of his pilling popping tendencies. Every morning he gets up and takes an upper followed by a downer. Two a day, regular as clockwork, to keep him “level “. He carries them in the pockets of his combats, uppers in the left hand pocket, downers on the right. Two A Day is a genuinely friendly guy, he’s long since withdrawn from the war, if any shooting starts he puts on his helmet, curls up and goes to sleep. Normally he’d be ostracized for such behaviour, but he is also the camps drug dealer. Two A Day gives the stuff away, he has a massive stash in the medical tent, a whole mess of a recreational and combat pharmaceuticals.
WAR BABY - YOUNG GRUNT
WarBaby is seventeen years old, frighteningly young even for a grunt. Even so he’s a veteran and stares out at the jungle, mumbles “I’m too old for this shit” and means it. WarBaby switches between acting like a grizzled veteran and a normal kid every few minutes. One moment he could be discussing baseball or night clubs on Mort and the next he’ll fall into a deep depression, staring morosely out at the jungle and damning the army. When he’s “up”, he’s very talkative. If the players end up sharing a hooch with him, they’ll discover he sleeps naked (most grunts sleep in their clothes in case of ground attack), Two-A-Day has a funny story about that.
MOMA TROOP - NECROPHILIAC COMPANY SARGENT
Also known as Sargent Cassidy. Moma Troop is a Strak NCO, a stern disciplinarian, not that you’d think it from the state of the base. She is deeply in love the Captain, always has been. She never told him when he was alive and she can’t bear to think that he’s dead. Most of her energy is spent trying to preserve the illusion the Captain is still alive. If she didn’t have to take care of the Captain, she’d notice that there is a lot wrong with D6. While she is essentially a tragic figure, she can make life hell for the characters, if they screw around or god help them point out that the Captains dead. If they shatter her carefully constructed world, she’ll make them regret it for the rest of their lives.
CAP - DEAD BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW IT
The captain isn’t even clinically alive. The LAD technology means that he can move around a bit, say a few simple sentences and so on, but he doesn’t eat anymore or breath much. He’s like a zombie. Every so often he has a moment of clarity when he remembers his past life. He can usually be found silently weeping in the communications shack then. No-one knows what the story is with him and Moma Troop, but there’s a rumour that he doesn’t eat anymore because he can’t stand his “life” and he wants to die.
SWEET WILLIAM - WIRED SHORT ASS GRUNT
Sweet William is a LURP, Long Range Recon Patrol. He got separately from his unit and made his way to D6 simply because it was the closest SLA outpost. William is 5’2 and wiry with long hair tied back in a pony tail. He’s been in the bush for close on five years now. Never washes (body odour blends in with the jungle), never cuts his hair and never goes unarmed. Always carries a FEN 603 and a knife. The only way the characters are going to talk to him is if the initiate conversation. William is far too self contained. If the players talk to him long enough, he’ll tell them a war story. If they ask him to explain it, he’ll walk off in disgust.
Sweet Williams Story: “About two years ago, a patrol went up the hills in 2 corp. One guy came back, all shot up. He died before he told tell us anything”.
THE DEAD - WASTED GRUNTS
The Dead come in a variety of different forms. Most of them wander around the medical tent trying to remember who they are. Other curl up in a ball on their beds, there’s nothing the characters can do for these people. Their minds have been destroyed, the Alzheimer’s has too strong a hold on them. Occasionally one of them will regress totally back to a sort of second childhood. The new “kid” will wander out of the medical tent and look around. If Warbaby or Two-A-Day find them, they lead them back to the tent and sedate them it’s all they can do. Some aren’t so lucky and go “play” in the minefield or try out some of the “toy” guns lying around. The innocent don’t last long on Charlie’s Point.
BALLARD - WASTED MEDIC
Ballard is wasted, sometimes he’s lucid, sometimes he’s not. When he’s not he’s a quiet drooling wreck that sits in the corner of the tent wallowing in his own filth. When he’s lucid, he’s paralyzed with guilt and tortured by what he inflicted on himself and his comrades. He lies on his bed and screams until he’s hoarse. If it’s nighttime, someone will sedate him to stop the noise.
NIGHT-TRIPPER - SNIPER
The Night Tripper is evil incarnate, everything that people despise about soldiers. The characters will never meet him, nobody knows what he looks like anyway, he has a thousand different forms, worn a thousand different uniforms. It doesn’t matter what he looks like. He’ll snipe at the characters from a distance with a .50 cal rifle, all they’ll see of him will be a muzzle flash somewhere in the jungle.
APPENDIX ONE: DRILL
Soldiers are taught to respond automatically to certain circumstances (like being shot at, etc). If during game-play, the players get ambushed (and they will), run through what the players are doing quickly. Anybody who just stares at you and goes “eh ?” or tries to think about what to do or doesn’t answer within 2 seconds does this drill. Each stage costs one phase, so a player who goes “eh ?” alot may end up conducting the whole drill.
When fired upon, the character will...
Drop to the ground (prone), people shooting at the character have a -3 penalty.
Blindly fire in the (general) direction of the target or at least where he thinks the target is. Make a passive Detect roll, if the player succeeds he’s firing in the right direction, resolve shooting as Blind Firing. This usually involves expending at least 20% of a magazine.
Get up off the ground.
Run ten feet or so, to the nearest cover where possible.
Drop to the ground again.
Try and find the shooter (Active Detect roll).
If the characters fail to locate the shooter, the standard procedure is for the corporal to order somebody to repeat step 3 - 5, to draw the enemies fire so that he reveals himself.
APPENDIX TWO: CHARLIE’S POINT
WHY IS IT CALLED CHARLIE’S POINT ?
Nobody knows. It had another name once before the war, but that it long forgotten. It's not really an issue.
Charlie’s Point was once a quiet and peaceful arboreal world. It's inhabitants were human who lived quietly and peacefully away from the conflict wars. They traded the riches of the planets biosphere (Charlie’s Point) for the technology they needed to keep them going. Nobody invaded the planet, there was no real strategic need to. However around 850 SD Mr Slayer offered Charlie’s Point the 3 P's contract after hearing intelligence reports that Dark Night were making moves to take the planet.
The planetary government refused. Within 5 years Dark Night had over run the planet and started raping it for the genetic secrets its forests held. SLA stepped in and drove Dark Night off in a series of large set piece battles like Thunder Road ('64), Kisser ('67) and Operation China Girl ('69-'73). The current war is a police action, the big battalions have been smashed, the characters are mopping up the infiltrators. It sure doesn't feel that way.
Because the planets wealth was held in it's forests, the NBC action on Charlie’s Point was minimal after the one fuck up in '75 (see THE MIST for details). Conventional weapons, massive bombing and search and destroy mission carried out by infantry were the preferred mode of warfare.
The "war" (it's a police action now of course) has been going on for the best part of 50 years now. It doesn't make GoreZone or Prime Time anymore. Charlie’s Point is just real late night viewing for your discerning television junkie and those who have loved ones there, hoping that they'll see their faces on the screen and then again hoping they won't. Don't worry about it kids, there are always Dante/Cross repeats on the other side.
Charlie’s Point is mostly water with a single landmass. So far as the characters are concerned it's jungle, hot, wet sticky jungle as far as the eye can see. The landmass is divided up into four areas, Control, 1 Corp, 2 Corp and 3 Corp. Control is the driest area and almost wholely cleared of Dark Night forces. It's where the planetary HQ is located. The 3 Corp sections are administrative divisions, the characters are in 1 Corp.
1 CORP (prounounced EYE-CORE)
1 Corp is hills covered in jungle occasionally broken by wide open stretches of grassland. The land has been scarred and brutalised by relentless bombing, but other than that is untouched by man. Think of Vietnams central highlands, the landscape of Platoon rather then Apocalypse now. Hamburger Hill shows exactly the kind of territory we're talking about. The jungle is constantly humid and while it rains only occasionally, there is generally a thin mist/haze in the air as a result of the heat and humidity.
SLA used some chemical weapons on Charlie’s Point about fifteen years ago. Well they say Dark Night used them first, it doesn't matter now. The weapons were mostly standard nerve gases, unfortunately due to the climate when the nerve gas dispersed after use it became trapped in the mists that hang low over the jungle. The gas, incredibly lethal to start with was broken down only slightly and still hangs in the clouds deadly as ever. This gas cloud hangs over most of 1 Corp about 30 - 40 metres off the ground and is about 2 metres thick.
This means that all personnel have to carry gas masks at all times. The gas cloud never actually descends to ground level, so they are only worn for a few minutes when the chopper rises through the cloud or when the grunts have to climb a hill.
There is one unexpected benefit of the cornucopia of deadly gases in the atmosphere. The mists are coloured like a madman’s paintbox as the light filters through them. This particularly true at dawn and sunset. The view of a Charlie’s Point sunset from a chopper is one of the most beautiful things a citizen of the World of Progress can ever hope to see.
Effects of the Cloud:
The Cloud contains small amounts of an incredibly lethal nerve gas. The gas works by causing the alveoli in the lungs to break down as well as attacking the CNS. Characters who can hold their breath are safe, those who can't have life spans that are measured in minutes. Their lungs begin to bleed and they start to drown in their own blood. Their CNS begins to "short out" and they develop tics and quivers that blossom into shakes that within minutes are akin to a full blown epileptic fit. By this time however the victim has either suffocated (no lungs mean no oxygen), drowned in their own blood or been put out of their misery by their friends. Those who live this long generally spend their last moments spasming while vomiting blood all over their amigos. Watching one of your buddies die like this is probably grounds for a Fright Check.
There are no "natives" that the characters will encounter, the indigenous population is corralled in Control for "their own protection". There are no intelligent life forms, though there are plenty of animals about. Monkeys, exotic birds, warthogs, wild pigs and snakes. Charlie’s Point is crawlin' with them. The local wildlife the characters will be getting most acquainted with are the insects, mosquitoes, huge ones as big as your arm will harass them at all times.
APPENDIX THREE: GEAR
The Choppers are kinda like flying battle taxi's, big boxy things that fly like a pregnant sow. They are relatively heavily armoured, small arms fire is nothing to worry about, anything heavier though and you are in a world of hurt. The standard design is a rounded box with a open cargo space in the back (you can put seats there, but most don't bother) and a sealed cockpit. The cockpit holds the Pilot and the Co-pilot/Navigator. Passengers and the door gunner can either strap themselves in the seats (where present) or clip themselves to small (4 ft long) bungee cord-like safety lines that hang from the roof.
Choppers come in a couple of flavours.
Standard/Medievac - As above, except that the Chopper has a door gunner. The Door Gunner mans the twin pintle mounted .50 cal machine gun on the side. The chopper has two stretchers strapped to the ceiling, that can be detached quite easily. The chopper floor has space for three stretchers and can clip another two on the landing struts. Dedicated Medievac Choppers carry five stretchers and have a red cross on a white background painted on the nose.
Air Assault - Air Assault choppers carry a galaxy of different rockets, bombs, gas dispensers, machineguns, chain guns, autocannon and so forth. The usual deployment has about half a dozen napalm canisters, two quad .50 cal machine guns manned by door gunners, two 20mm cannon and two rocket pods, one firing 37mm unguided rockets and one firing heat seeking missiles.
Pysops - Pysops are usually appear as standard choppers, but they have loudspeakers mounted on either side and flare dispensers. Mostly they just broadcast SLA propaganda and provide illumination (a Pysops has enough flares to light up a battle field for two hours), but they do occasionally conduct psychological warfare operations that involve broadcasting messages from Slayer, Intruder, people who have defected from Dark Night amongst others. There is an operation going at the moment where the Chopper flies low over the jungle at night playing the sound of a baby crying over and over again. Those are long and lonely nights where no-one gets any sleep.
LAD - Life After Death Choppers have no door gunner. There is a medical technician in the back who tends the rather sophisticated life saving machinery that fills the cargo area of the Chopper. The medical bay has enough room to hold three people until they can get to LAD facilities. LAD Choppers look normal except that they are always cold (noticeable on a hot planet) and have a white cross on a black background on the nose.
LAD Tags are small transmitters worn around the neck, they look just like a little metal tag with a red LED on it (these are generally covered with black gaffa on night patrols). To activate the tag, you simply break it in two, and LAD are dispatched to pick you up. Veterans generally wear one tag around the neck and one in each boot for identification purposes (in case their legs are blown off).
Standard Issue Equipment for a Grunt
Helmet with mask attachment.
16-20 magazines for the Warmonger in a bandoleer and various pouches.
2 Fragmentation Grenades
1 magazine for the Squad Automatic.
Gunshot wound dressing. (attached to shoulder)
Combat Knife (aka the K-Bar)
Pack with 3 days rations (MREs), basic toiletries, skeeter repellant, sleeping bag.
APPENDIX FOUR: JIVE TALKIN’ ( War World Slang)
Darky - Dark Night, the enemy.
The Bird - A helicopter.
The Shit - Charlie’s Point (as in “You’re in the...”)
The Bush - All those parts of Charlie’s Point outside Control.
Man in the Bird - Your commander when he’s over the battlefield in a helicopter.
FEN - The FEN Warmonger. Standard Issue Personal Weapon.
The Pig - The Squad Automatic Weapon (the machine gun)
Capping - Shooting.
Jones - Gas Mask
Tagged - Sent to LAD
BASS - Female Personnel (Broad Assed Soldier)
Strak - By the Book, an officer that is a stickler for procedure.
The Lost Boys - 3rd Eye News Teams (‘cos no-one sees them in the shit).
Him - God, Fate, Destiny, whoever keeps you safe.
Stuff to remember when running “Angels in the Trees”
What scares the Characters ?
Charlie’s Point isn’t a nice place to live, there are a couple of things that you should use to scare the players.
1. Being maimed.
If a character gets killed, their pain is over, they’ll never hear the one with their name on it. But the problem is Darky doesn’t want to kill you, he wants to maim you. A wounded soldier is a burden to his comrades and a drain on SLA’s resources and morale. Most of the weapons aren’t designed to kill you, they’re designed to maim or hurt you. Toepopper anti-personnel mines will blow your foot clean off, but leave you alive and screaming. 10mm rounds may rip you up, but generally speaking it will take you 10 - 15 minutes to die as you slowly bleed to death. Mortar shells, fragmentation grenades, poison gas, they’ll fuck you up good, but they’ll leave you alive (at least for a while) to feel it. Emphasize this to the players, scare them, good times to push this might be when Duke is hit and in the Aid Station at D6.
2. The enemy.
If the characters are lucky they may see three enemy soldiers, but only if they’re lucky, the Dark Night guerrillas have been fighting this war for two decades. They are very good at not being seen. They attack in ambush, inflict as much damage as they can and then bail before the SLA troops can mount an effective counter attack. The impression you want to give to the players is that they are loaded down with the technology of death, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction and they just don’t know where the enemy are. The players are part of the vast SLA war machine, the tiny Dark Night hornet is stinging them to death and they can’t react fast enough to stop him.
The other thing you need to establish in their minds is that while the enemy are few in number, they could be anywhere and by that logic they are potentially everywhere. No scrap of jungle is safe.
3. Letting their buddies down.
The characters squad is the closest thing they have to a family on Charlie’s Point. They’re here for the long haul and the only people they have to share their lives with are their friends. There are some inter-character tensions, but for the most part the characters trust each other. They have to, their squadmate is the guy who is watching out for them, without him they’re dead. The squad functions as a unit, a whole that is greater then the sum of its parts. If any of those parts fails, the squad dies and everybody dies. Letting their friends down and therefore getting everybody killed should be the thing that scares the players the most.
Killing the characters ?
The players are SLA Company Militia and they do have LAD (Life After Death) coverage. If you want to kill one of the characters off, do it before the beginning of the third act so that he can be choppered in from LAD at the start of the third act. If you are going to kill a character try and do it in a way that demonstrates how cheap life is on Charlie’s Point. Kill him when the players think they are safe, but kill with his own carelessness. Have him step on a landmine because he wasn’t looking where he was going, get shot because he forgot to zip up his flak jacket or put on his helmet, get poisoned because he stored his mask incorrectly. The idea you’re trying to communicate is that on Charlie’s Point people die because they’re are too young, too stupid or just too damn tired to live.
NOTE: For those of you that haven’t read Karma, LAD is a type of insurance policy, similar to Trauma Team in CP2020. They chopper out, medievac the wounded or dead personnel and revive them in a LAD medical facility. The character is superficially alive, however, he is now deep in debt to SLA (to the tune of 2000c - 8000c depending on how bad he was shot up) and a little less than human. People who have been in LAD are quieter, colder and more fanatically loyal to SLA then they were before. Your friend is dead and now he’s back, he just isn’t one of the guys any more.
How do I run Combat ?
Because the enemy is faceless and the players haven’t a clue where he is, combat is going to be a bit different from normal. If you’re big on rules, I’d check out the suppressive fire and hosing rules from the combat section before running this game. There is no bullet tax, ammunition is plentiful, the characters are actively encouraged (in fact trained to) hose anything that moves. If that means they may kill civilians, SLA isn’t worried. What this boils down to is that 99% of the time the characters will be pumping the trees where they think the bad guys are hiding full of bullets on the off chance that they’re there. Don’t worry about it, the characters will for the most part just be cappin’ the wild life. Just as a pointer on ammunition consumption, in War 1 the MOD estimated that 7000 rounds were expended per German killed, in Vietnam (and auto weapons) this had risen to 50,000 rounds per kill. Go wild.
You’re the corporal in charge of this crew. You’ve been on Charlie’s Point for just over a year and you’ve learned enough to stay alive and keep those under you alive as well. It’s a hard job and it keeps you awake at nights. You didn’t want to be a soldier, you were a teacher once before you got drafted. Taught adult literacy and numeracy at a downtown welfare project on Mort. You’re twenty five and you’re the oldest man in the squad. You were used to giving instructions to people twice your age so command wasn’t that hard a skill to learn. Still it makes you feel old when you look at the faces of the guys in your squad, there isn’t one who’s over twenty. They all look so painfully young.
You were always the responsible one. Dad died in a traffic accident, Mom used to send you out shopping with the welfare check. Sometimes, your younger brothers and sisters would nag you to buy them sweets and toys and stuff. You never did, if you had there wouldn’t have been enough money for food. Being a corporal is kinda like that. You have to love your men to get the best out of them, to get them to fight well and to get them home alive. Still you have to be willing to let one die to keep the group alive. It’s a hard decision. One you hope you never have to make.
Shiny Boy - The new guy, you don’t know him that well. He seems keen.
Doc - The squad medic, possibly the most pessimistic guy you’ve ever met, but a great guy to have at your back. Doc will walk through a river of shit carrying a wounded man on his back then moan about the chocolate ration.
Daytripper - DayTripper got drafted much as yourself. The squad joker, his nickname comes from the fact that he has six months left on his tour. He has a calendar drawn up on his helmet, every morning he crosses off a day.
Chunk - Chunk carries the pig and is pretty good with it. He’s big and he’s mean as hell, but once he’s used to you you’ll never have a more loyal friend. He farts something terrible in his sleep though.
Chickenhawk - Chickenhawk tried for the sniper course and failed it. He got transferred to recon. He still considers himself to be some pretty hot shit. He is, but he’d only get ideas if you let on that you know he’s good. He also tends to like 16 year old girls...but that’s his own business.
What you know about the NightTripper.
The NightTripper has always been on Charlie’s Point. Some say he always will be, that he’s immortal that he can’t killed. There have always been stories about him, you reckon there’s a grain of truth in them somewhere...but guys who go around saying he’s ten foot tall and eats power armoured troopers for breakfast are fooling themselves. You don’t know what to believe, there are enough normal Dark Night geurrillas out there for you as it is thank you very much without having to invent more.
You’re the newest recruit to the squad. Recon ain’t so bad, you move around in the bush alot, so you get to see a lot of action. You would have preferred assignment to an assault company, but you won’t be able to get a transfer for a few months at least so you figure you’ll make the best of it. Charlie’s Point isn’t a big time warworld like Dante or Cross, but you so far as you’re concerned its OK. Firstly the life expectancy on Dante is a hell of a lot lower and secondly it’s all powered armour stuff. Company militia don’t even get a look in. The news boys never go near the infantry on Cross. Infantry is all there is on Charlie’s Point, so you’ll get on TV sooner or later.
You’ve wanted to get on TV and be war hero ever since you were a kid. You used to watch the Combat Hour on Third Eye News all the time, mainly Dante and Cross, but some of the smaller war worlds as well. Soon as you were old enough to enlist you did, there’s nothing keeping you at home. Mom and Dad just sit down and watch TV all day. Watching TV is OK...but being on TV has got to be better. War seems pretty cool so far, I mean it’s not like Mort, nobody fucks with you (‘cept officers), there’s always stuff to do and even if you die, LAD will put you back together again. All you want to do now is get your ass out in the bush and show the squad you really know how to be a soldier.
Red - The corporal, a quiet guy, smart too, which is probably why he’s a corporal. He hasn’t said much too you, but that’s probably because he’s been on Charlie’s Point for so long. Anyway, you’re going to show him that you’re the best soldier ever. He’ll be proud to have you on his squad when you’re done.
Doc - The squads medic, he doesn’t say much. He looks depressed all the time. You think maybe he’s on drugs, not the good ones like the Morale Officers give out, but something from a private stash.
Daytripper - Daytripper is the only guy who’s been here longer then Red. He’s a funny guy you like him.
Chunk - Big mean sonovabitch. Chunk carries the machine gun, he’s pretty good with it too. He’s brave as hell. You’re going to have to prove to him that you can be just as brave as he is.
Chickenhawk - You heard a story that Chickenhawk likes underage girls. You’re not sure...you don’t want to push it. The ‘hawk is dangerous, you hear they threw him out of sniper school ‘cos he was too intense.
What you know about the NightTripper.
The NightTripper is just a story made up by old timers on Charlie’s Point to scare the bejesus out of guys like you fresh of the foldship from Mort. Everybody says this NightTripper guy is sort of hotshot sniper, supreme Dark Night badass who eats entire platoons alive. You watched enough CombatTV to know that that sort of thing is bullshit, SLA kick Dark Night ass any day. Even if there is a NightTripper something you find very fucking hard to believe, you’ll settle his hash for him.
Being a medic on Charlie’s Point sucks. Being in Recon on Charlie’s Point sucks. In fact being on Charlie’s Point sucks period. Least that’s the way you see it.
Still it could be worse, Recon ain’t so bad. You grumble and you moan about having to hump it around the bush all the time. It’s no picnic, but it sure beats working on an assault company. You hate the jungle, you hate the heat and really hate the fucking bugs. You don’t hate Darky, Darky hates the jungle much as you do. Bugs don’t give a damn whose uniform you’re wearing, they’ll still bite you. In two years time, when you’re times up, you’re going to go home and you’re going to have a shower.
A six month long shower, you’re going to live in that goddamn shower until you’ve washed the jungle out of your skin. The guys say you complain to much about the little things. You don’t see why you shouldn’t, it’s a soldiers privilege. You got plenty of time to grumble and plenty of stuff to grumble about. You don’t sweat the big stuff, Darky trying to kill you bothers you alright, but its not like it’s personal. Waking up in the morning to find that a jungle fucking monkey has taken a dump in your boots now that’s personal.
Red - Reds alright. None of these “Our fearless leader” bullshit from him. Reds been here longer then most and he’s managed to stay alive. He’s kept you alive too and he knows how to get things done. If you get a hot cup of coffee while you’re on sentry, you can be damn sure Red made sure it got put there.
Shiny Boy - New guy, far too damn keen for your liking. Still a few weeks in the bush will knock the corners off him, if it doesn’t kill him first.
Daytripper- Old timer. Real old timer. Daytrippers only got six months left on his tour. Normally guys who are getting short time wise get real cautious. DayTrippers cautious alright, but he never lets it get in the way of doin’ the job.
Chunk - Chunk is the baddest man alive. You once say him tear through a regimental brothel back at Control when some one called him stupid. He nearly brought the place down single-handed. Still he’s good with the pig, you just wish he didn’t fart so much, it makes sharing a hooch with him like living inside a piece of rancid bacon.
Chickenhawk - Chickenhawk thinks he is the man which is bullshit. Poor fool flunked the psychological requirements for sniper school, so he got transferred to recon. He’s still hurting about that. That isn’t to say he’s not handy with a rifle though.
What you know about the NightTripper.
No-one knows anything about the NightTripper for sure. No-one has ever seen him and lived. They say he’s some sort of super cool Dark Night operative. Quiet, fast, deadly with just about any kind of weapon. Uses blades, silenced sniper rifles, crossbows....real intrusion and sneaky beaky operation artist. You don’t know. You have a theory that maybe Dark Night just made the Night Tripper up to put the frighteners on the SLA troops. You don’t see why not, it’s the sort of thing SLA psyops would do.
You’ve been on Charlie’s Point for the last four and a half years now. You spent most of it sitting around as a guard on firebases up and down the length of Eye Corp. You got transferred to recon last year, put in with an ex-school teacher named Red. Recon’s been OK, you’ve been in two firefights since you joined. You just keep your head down, point your rifle, where you think the bad guys are and empty it. Reload and try again. You keep on doing that until you’re dead or they’re dead or somebody’s run away. Recon is no place to be a hero. Because of the mist the spy satellites don’t work so good, so most of SLA field intelligence work is done by guys like you.
That means most of the time, if you see the enemy you don’t have to shot him. That’s alright by you, you have absolutely no problems with not being required to kill people. You killed a guy once, Dark Night guerilla. You were guarding an ammo dump on a fire base when mortars started dropping out of the sky. You hit the deck and saw some Dark Night guys trying to get in through the wire. You ran for the nearest fox hole and jumped in. One of the Dark Night guys ran at you with a bayonet, you emptied your rifle into him and then you got sick. By then the rest of the base was awake and the Dark Night guys got shot up good. You still see that guy in your dreams sometimes. It’s always real bad juju when you do.
Anyway, just because you’re nearly finished doesn’t mean you can slack off. You’re not much a soldier, but you pull your weight. You see yourself more as a sort of unofficial morale officer for the squad. If the piss needs to be taken, you take it. Most of the time, if you tell a good bullshit story, the guys will listen and laugh and forget for a while.
Red - Red hasn’t been here as long as you have, but he takes being a soldier a hell of a lot more seriously. Red’ll watch out for you whatever it takes, he’s a good corporal.
Shiny Boy - New kid...he looks real young. You can’t even remember when you were that young. He’s only been here two weeks. You can’t remember that either.
Doc - Morose medic. Doc grumbles a lot, but he does his job and he does it well. You’ve never seen him lose a guy that could be saved. You’d rather take your chances with Doc then go to LAD anyday.
Chunk - Big bad motherfucker. Chunk is convinced that he was put on this earth to prove that he is the baddest man alive. Chunk carries the squad machine gun and is ferociously brave. The man doesn’t have a nerve in his body.
Chickenhawk - Chickenhawk makes you laugh. He takes himself so seriously, like he’s some sort of badass sharpshooter. He’s good with a rifle, but still it cracks you up to see anybody take themselves that seriously.
What you know about the NightTripper.
The NightTripper is an Ebb user, a widow makin’ heart breakin’ brain waster who was going to become a Necanthrope some time, but the nightmares got him first. He used to be on our side. Now he walks the earth, his combat pockets full of .50 cal and his mind full of Demons that the Necanthropes put there. You can hear him walkin’ in the night, clinkin’ as he steps, every so often he’ll come up on a patrol dip into his pocket and use his ebb abilities to make the bullets go supersonic handfuls at a time.
You’re the only lifer in this bunch. The only professional soldier. Red and Daytripper have been here longer then you have, but you’re here until the finish. Everybody else on the squad is either a conscript or a short term volunteer on a one, three or five year hitch. You signed up for life about two years ago. There was nothing to keep you at home. Mom was dead and Dad was drinking like he was working on it. Life down town was boring, they only way to get ahead was to fight and steal. Petty crime never appealed to you. Street fighting was fun...but there was only one outcome, the Shivers would kick the crap outta you sooner or later.
The army was a way out, a way forward, a new home. The army was somewhere were words like honour, duty and courage meant something. You survived basic training, graduated from advanced infantry training top of your class, then tried for sniper school. That was one of the advantages of being a lifer, you got to pick your own assignments.
You never found out why you flunked out of sniper school. They said you were “unsuited to the position”, which is bureaucrat for you failed the psychological test. You can’t understand it, you’re a killer, you’ve done the exercises, worked on the firing range, you’re Mr. Slayers hired gun, the biggest, the baddest, the meanest guy in town. You are one hell of soldier. How the hell did you did you fail the test ? Do they think you’re some kind of peacenik, no dick pacifist in disguise or something ?
That was when you applied for duty on Charlie’s Point. A small jungle war is prime sniper material, you’ll show them. You are the greatest sniper that ever lived, you will prove that to those desk bound bastards if its the last thing you do.
Red - Red’s the corporal and he’s not a bad one. Still you think he underestimates you as a soldier, thinks you’re just another grunt with delusions of grandeur. It’s funny sometimes you think he doesn’t give damn and he comes along and says something or does something that makes you understand that he knows you’re the best. That makes you feel good.
Shiny Boy - Another punk kid out in the jungle with the rest of the lost children. He hasn’t signed up for life like you, but he might. He’s very keen, but if he runs around playing at TVLand soldiers he’s going to get himself killed. He’ll learn, he just needs you to take him under your wing and show him what’s what.
Doc - Doc is the most depressed bastard you’ve ever met. The guy bitches about a pebble in his boot for half a day and then doesn’t say a word right after an ambush. You can’t figure him out. He’s a good medic though.
Daytripper - A short timer, Day tripper signed up for a five year hitch. He’s out in six months. He’s got a calender made up on his helmet. He crosses off a day each morning. You’ll miss ‘tripper...he’s a funny guy. The one man alive whose ever made you laugh while on patrol.
Chunk - Chunk is just one big mean piece of meat with a machine gun attached. He got sent to Charlie’s Point ‘cos he killed a guy back home. Some sort of gang thing. It was either prison or the war. It looks like your his new posse because Chunk comes down like the wrath of God on anyone who fucks with the squad.
What you know about the NightTripper.
Rumour says that the NightTripper is a sniper, used to be one of ours before the combat drugs and the Dark Night propaganda got to him. He was part of one of the original infantry battalions posted here. Now he stalks us in the night, he’s camo’ed up to here, sneakin’ around in a ECM suit and a scout helmet killing people with an old style .50 cal SureKill. It was the combat drugs that did it, the old ones that flattened your personality, cracked it like glass until you were a supersoldier, devoid of feeling owned in the soul by SLA.
Mort is a bad, bad planet and it never gives a sucker an even break. You know better then most. YOu had a pretty normal life, Mom and Dad were on welfare. You stayed home a watched alot of TV. After a while that began to bore you, so you joined a gang. The New Rock Rolling 40s, you all wore white sneakers and big old leather jackets. You carried cut throat razors to fight the other gangs with. You’d have a rumble every few days. You’d face off against the High Steppers, the Wayne Street Crew and the Lewis Block Sugar Boys for drugs, girls and turf.
After a while, it got serious. You had yourself a pretty little girl named Susi. She was everything to you. You were doing well in the gang too, you scared people because you were so big. You never lost your temper when Susi was around though...you didn’t want her to see you like that. When you get mad you do things, things you’d prefer you didn’t do.
Susi told you she got pregnant, that it was yours. Later you found out, it wasn’t and she was lying to you. She hadn’t been pregnant at all. She was running around with this fella called Dukey, top boy in the Lewis Block Sugar Boys. You could hurt Susi, so you killed him.
SLA gave you a choice, 15 years in the stacks or Charlies Point. You chose the army. It seemed like the way to go. It’s alright, you’re still the biggest baddest motherfucker around, but you got a new gang now, your squad. They watch out for you and you watch out for them. They ain’t got nothing to worry about when ole’ Chunks on it with the pig. There ain’t a Darky been born that Chunk and his machine gun can’t handle.
Red - Red’s OK, there are plenty of corporals that seem to think they’re Jesus Christ. Red’s different, he makes sure you got everything you need and if he can manage it some of what you want too. He really looks after you. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for Red.
Shiny Boy - Some new kid fresh off the foldship from Mort. Dumb motherfucker volunteered, bitches about how he got assigned recon instead of assault. This baby is too dumb to live.
Doc - Doc is a miserable bastard, but he knows his job. Doc will whine all day about how a skeeter bit in the butt in the morning, but he’ll stitch you back together and be elbow deep in blood without batting an eyelid. A damn good medic.
Daytripper - Daytripper has got it made. Six more months and he’s outta here. He pisses you off sometimes, he’s always goofing around, acting like a clown.
Chickenhawk - Chickenhawk is the real deal. A true blue bone fide madman. Mad not in a loud screaming kinda way, but he’s real calm, even under fire. You hear he flunked the pysh exam for sniper school, you can’t quite figure how. He looks like a hunter to you.
What you know about the NightTripper.
The NightTripper is a soldier who lives entirely at night, never opening his eyes in the day, so that the visual purple in his eyes has reached incredible levels. He drives around Charlie’s Point in a battered jeep with twin .50 cal machine guns in the back. He chews through platoons, companies, sections with machine gun fire, no-one ever gets away.