Part 2: Session 001: Prologue
Session 001: Prologue
Normally I don't like being called in the middle of the night, but the words "five," "million," and "Euro" was enough to wake me up.
Unfortunately, I knew what I'd have to do to get it before Mr. Rezvy even got to the job. Money like that isn't given out for anything short of... well, any thing short of what we did in Palinero.
Palinero was the setting of Brigade E5: New Jagged Union.
That's me, second from the right. They called me "Beacon" for my propensity for providing some hope to Palinero's poor. It seemed so long ago, but it wasn't. I'm sure most would like to think that they've become different person since times like those, but deep down I knew I would be accepting whatever dirty work the smooth-talking Russian had for me before he even gave me the details.
Five million Euro. Shit. I thought I had found a nice little corner of the world here in Cape Town, where nobody knew me and I could live in peace. Not like a king, perhaps, but the the interest on my Palinero money would have been enough to ensure I didn't have to do an honest day's work ever again.
But still... five million. And I always did like the idea of living near the Mediterranean.
Day 1, 1400
Las Vacaciones seemed nice enough from three miles out, but I knew the resort town was the pretty face the government was putting forth to the world. No doubt an hour's travel inland would expose the country for the mess it was. At least it wasn't too hot, and it could only smell better than the hold of the Dutch freighter I'd hitched a ride on.
I disembarked with my rucksack, my Glock, and the sun in my eyes. A peasant boy was trying to pry my pack away from me, so that he could carry it and then ask for a tip. I shooed him away and looked down the dockyard to see if I could find Mr. Rezvy.
A portly man with a graying beard and a Hawaiian shirt walked up to me, a cigar between two meaty fingers. He grinned and stuck out his hand.
"You are the beacon, yes?"
I smiled a little bit and took his handshake. "I am. But it's just 'Beacon,' nothing more."
"Ah, I see! Beacon, very interesting." He nodded quickly, not, in fact, seeming very interested at all. His accent was subdued-I could tell he was well-practiced in talking with non-Russians like myself. "Come, we will get away from these pesky flies," he said, throwing an ugly look back to the boy we left standing by the ship.
He threw an arm around my shoulder and we walked up the road to the Tourism Bureau building, overlooking the Carribean Sea. I was glad it wasn't too far, because the mild tropical warmth had his tuned-for-the-cold Russian blood in panic mode; his BO was in full effect. It smelled like pencil shavings.
"Now we talk," he said, letting me go and reaching into his pocket. "I give you five thousand now and the rest when you bring me Mr. Fakirov... in a reasonable state of compliance." He raised his eyebrows at me expectantly and I nodded my understanding. "But is important you do bring him to me, yes?"
"Yes, Mr. Rezvy, I know."
He smiled that friendly smile again, and thrust a roll of bills and a photograph into my hand. "Bah, Mr. Rezvy! It is Alexey here, why not? Here is money, spend it well. Also Mr. Fakirov's picture, to ask after him. Oh! And another thing I will give you." He reached behind his back, and I felt the old instincts rise in me again, the hair on my neck sitting up to pay attention.
"It has been awhile for you, yes? I think that you have sold off all your old guns. So have this, because we are now friends."
The Tokarev TT-33 pistol has been in use as far back as World War II. It and its variants are not yet uncommon, but it is also easily overshadowed by the good balance in stopping power and availability of parts in more modern pistols.
It was a relic, but it was a free relic, and I wasn't about to insult the signature on my paycheck by refusing it. I kept quiet about my Glock (and my own supply of money) and placed it into my belt.
"Many people have guns here these days. It is good to have an understanding with the police, just don't go cowboy-wild-west with it, okay?"
I chuckled more at the fractured expression than anything else and assured him that it would do nicely until I had some time to shop around.
Alexey shrugged. "It is soon yet. The war is hardly over, and the arms dealers, they have not had time to get shipments in. You stick around, you will find very nice things, but for now, times are lean. You use what you can, yes?"
I nodded, and Alexey seemed anxious to leave.
"You are the professional, so here I leave it to you. I must find a cold drink and a fan. Come see me here in town when you find our guy. Uvidimsia!"
Watching an aging Russian man with a ponch and a floral shirt jog away is a pretty amusing sight.
Let's take some time to go over the UI, shall we?
1: The stealth gauge. Full is completely visible, empty is completely invisible. The higher your Camouflage stat, the more this gauge is suppressed.
2: When your body suffers locational damage, the corresponding part will show up as red here.
3: Displays the action the character is currently performing. If the character is doing nothing, "Idle" will be displayed.
4: Adrenaline meter. Higher adrenaline levels have both positive and negative effects on all actions.
5: The character's stats. It only displays the first six stats, however. I'm not sure why.
Colored Bars: Blue is your energy level, red is your hit points. A low blue bar means the character is fatigued, a low red bar means the character is hurt.
6: The left column here is used to change how the character handles his weapon. The top button is snap fire (fastest, least range, governed by Gunfighting), the second button is rough aiming (decent speed, decent range, governed by Shooting), the third button is careful aiming (slow speed, good range, governed by Shooting), and the bottom button is precision aiming (slow speed, excellent range, governed by Sniping, can only be used with a scope). The right column selects whether the character will fire a single shot, a burst, or a full-on magdump. The gray buttons below these two columns let you ready your weapon by aiming at a point or raising your weapon while you move.
7: Shows your currently-held weapon.
8: Different view buttons that let you figure out where your character is looking and what he can see. More on these as we use them.
9: Readily-available inventory slots. If you don't have a belt or vest equipped, those slots won't be available. There is more storage in a rucksack, but the items inside are not readily available and take some time to get out, which is a Bad Thing™ in combat.
10: Different stances. Moving fast makes you easier to see, as well as costs energy. Staying low makes you move slower but you are also harder to see and hit.
11: The map of the area. Blue dots are police or people of interest, yellow dots are civilians, green dots are player-controlled mercenaries.
12: Standard character/quest journal/main menu buttons.
13: The mouse cursor. The cursor displays what action will be performed by clicking that spot, and how long it will take the character(s) to perform the action.
It looked like as good a place as any to start asking around.
The bartender greeted me with a nod as I slipped in. There weren't any tourists-in fact, everyone in the place was armed. Looks like even the sparkling jewel of the new Algeyran government had its stress fractures.
Goon-made mercs will show up in the game world with "Goon" over their heads until we talk to them, at which point their handle will replace it. This prologue gets some story out of the way but it also serves to show you how future sessions will be presented. As of this post, Squint's still looking for more mercenaries, so keep submitting!