So, tonight I almost immediately let loose something I intended to hold back from the players.
Slips like this happen, especially in a game where holding back information from and deceiving the players is a constant task.
The slip involved letting the team know that the strike team was actually CIA. I had originally intended them to believe their targets were PKK goons and later discover they'd taken out Americans, leading to a frantic call to their handler wondering what the fuck is going on.
"The CIA might be attempting to foster good will with the PKK to influence the war in Syria, or they might be playing both sides for reasons I can't fathom."- Logan
Logan explained that he wasn't aware that the CIA was cooperating with the PKK. He broaches a few possible theories for their involvement, and promises to look into it. He states that getting Mr. X out of the country is the top priority, and explains that while he'd prefer a lack of violence between A17 and the CIA, the secrecy of Agency 17 has to come first.
Virgil asks Logan to produce passports for Natalia, and asks Logan if Agency 17 would appreciate it if the agents confiscated Lorin's gun runner armory he's got under his shop, which Logan confirms would be a suitable secondary objective. The conversation ends with Logan expressing a concern to the group.
"Virgil, my boss is watching this operation closely. For whatever reason, this is getting a great deal of attention from the top, and it's making me uneasy. Best be careful."
The Agents interrogate Lorin, who breaks quickly. Combing through Francois' laptop because it's in French and he's the only agent with the language, Virgil runs into major difficulties as he's not a bookish guy, and it takes him over four hours to piece together a crude customer list. Tobias picked up Lorin's phone and it's received a slew of voicemails- including a very ominous one from a man listed as 'Naz'.
Naz being the PKK guy in charge of making sure that the CIA presence in the area has access to whatever toys they want. Naz being the guy who told Lorin to avoid any messy firefights else Naz would have to break fingers and smash kneecaps.
Lorin gives the Agents the location of three PKK locations that might be of use, although it turns out he doesn't have as much information on the CIA squad as they would like. The Agents briefly consider trying to lure out Naz, but it's decided to looting Lorin's vault is a less noisy and less dangerous alternative while they're trying to protect Mr. X.
That and Virgil and Johnny are both capable of impersonating cops really well.
Nima disappears for a few hours and returns with a local police car, a uniform, as well as a printer so Tobias can doctor some identification for the Agents showing that they work with the Ankara police department. (Tobias crits on his Electronics Operation (media) check).
Taking three vehicles, their cop car, a SUV for loading the guns into, and Johnny in a random vehicle to block traffic if needed, they arrive at Lorin's shop to find that the skeleton crew able to investigate the shootings are still examining the scene. Nima, Natalia and Virgil enter the crime scene while Johnny hangs back to watch. Tobias with his bum leg is left behind to monitor things from their hideout and to continue sifting through the data. Jack is left to guard the prisoners.
Turns out INTERPOL has been handed control of the investigation because their guy on the ground, Detective Larson, asked for it and the Ankara Police were glad to free up one of their commanders for dealing with riots instead of what they view as gang violence.
Some PKK dudes are watching the police investigation anxiously, Johnny notices.
Larson and Virgil trade info, and it becomes clear that Francois is actually Larson's target. Francois had escaped France after a nasty sting operation, deciding to attach himself to Lorin who he had worked with in the past.
The Agents are given leave to explore the crimescene, and Virgil uses the passcode for the vault that they extracted from Lorin. This draws most of the cops towards the vault to begin turning it over for evidence.
The vault is a family sized fallout shelter consisting of a living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. There are three large crates full of guns in the living room, as well as an attache case of grenades that's missing one. (My players completely missed that detail, as you'll see.) The stairs are equipped with a lift designed to help those with disabilities requiring the use of a wheelchair up and down the stairs, but the lift has obviously been used to move heavy crates.
The PKK dudes at this point rush the store, killing the cops standing watch outside. Inside the vault, every officer begins taking cover and aiming towards the doorway.
After a few seconds pause, a grenade is thrown into the room. Virgil resists the urge to be selfless, and is manhandled into the bedroom closet by Nima. Natalia completely fails to resist On the Edge, and attempts to throw the grenade back.
She's beaten to the punch by Detective Larson, who drops on the grenade to try and save everyone in the room. It explodes, killing multiple cops in the room and badly injuring Natalia who is only saved because of Larson's intervention. Virgil and Nima are battered by the pressure wave, but manage to avoid any hearing issues.
Still On the Edge, Natalia moves upstairs with an AK grabbed from Lorin's stash, which begins a firefight with the four PKK dudes who are assaulting the shop. Virgil moves upstairs to assist, taking out one of the men with a headshot.
One man advances on Natalia's, unwisely getting into close combat allowing her to slap the muzzle of his gun up towards the ceiling, causing his shots to miss. The other two still alive hunker down behind the store counter there.
Johnny pulls up in the car and aims into the firefight from behind the wheel, but misses the man who fired on Natalia. Immediately after one of the men behind the counter fires on Johnny and clips him in the head.
I roll damage. On 5d+1, I rolled a 9, reduced to 7 damage by skull DR before wounding modifiers. Ending up at -17 HP, Johnny succeeds his death check but immediately falls unconscious.
Virgil kills the man who shot Johnny and Natalia uses quick-shooting to eliminate the last two men by putting three shots into both of their heads.
Meanwhile, Jack has stormed out of their hideout and speeds to their location, just barely avoiding wrecking the car. Tobias hears the police alerts go out, and promptly sets about calling in as many bogus reports of violence, bomb threats and other debauchery as he can to delay the police response.
Nima stabilizes Johnny, who is missing a portion of his skull. Jack arrives and helps Nima to load Johnny into their vehicle while Natalia and Virgil attempt to get out with the guns.
Not having freight handling, Natalia and Virgil end up losing a crate of guns when it tips over on the lift and spills its contents all over the floor. Virgil nabs Lorin's laptop from the vault and the Agents leave just before the police arrive.
Back at base, Nima has to constantly watch Johnny, as she's had a very hard time stopping all of the bleeding. She makes it clear that she believes she can stabilize Johnny if she has access to a suitable place to operate on him.
The team prepares to find a vet clinic or hospital that they can use.
As far as it goes, this was an excellent session. It didn't go as planned but still managed to become a real nail-biter towards the end once Johnny got hit. All told, being in a position where you can't effectively dodge in a firefight (like behind the wheel of a car) is a bad idea.
I'm not too disappointed that I won't get to use the strike team, and next session will probably wrap up the extraction of Mr. X.