Sunday, 14 April 2019

Espionage FUBAR (GUMSHOE, Night's Black Agents).

This week's post is inspired by recent events in Florida, at the President's member's club Mar-a-Lago.

You've almost certainly seen the reports by now, but a brief recap: a Chinese national was caught by Secret Service agents on Sat 30th March, as she attempted to infiltrate the club with two passports, four cell phones, malware on a data stick, and a laptop with an external hard drive. It's not clear why she was there. The theory being passed around in the papers is that she wanted to infiltrate an event organized by a "spa owner" (alleged whorehouse madam and human trafficker) which was to take place that evening.

It seems remarkably amateurish, especially for China. Given that Mar-a-Lago probably isn't the most secure installation in the world, I'd have thought it'd be much, much easier to suborn a senior staff member at the resort, and keep them on permanent payroll for moments like this. Or even get one of China's people hired as full-time staff. Heck, if all you want to do is put malware on the system, given that Mar-a-Lago's cyber security is probably even shakier than its front door policy, sneaking malware in via someone's Facebook page seems the better bet. Frankly, it sounds more like something North Korea would indulge in, given its penchant for wacky schemes and ambitious hacking.

Gamification coming right up.


The Night's Black Agents hear, via Network - so before the media gets it, but only just - that a security breach at a Conspiracy-friendly government locale was foiled by alert security, and that the person responsible was captured, along with a quantity of suspicious items. Director's choice as to what, exactly, was on the agent when they were captured, but suggested kit includes assassination tools (particularly those known to work on vampires), data sticks chock-full of malware, mini cameras and similar surveillance tools. There's enough information for the agents, particularly anyone with Vampirology, to realize that, whoever it was, they knew enough about vampires to take effective countermeasures against them.

The precise location is going to depend on your campaign, but suggested locales are the House of Parliament in London, a high-profile event venue like the British Museum, the Berlaymont Building in Brussels, the Federal Chancellery in Berlin, or the Victoria Palace in Romania.

This raises two red flags for the agents. First: does this mean there's a Node of the Conspiracy operating at that location? Second: who is this luckless infiltrator, and what do they know about the Conspiracy?

To answer that question, the agents are going to have to rescue the infiltrator, or at least take possession of any notes taken from the infiltrator's interrogation. Both will involve sneaking into a National-level installation at the very least, with all the chicanery that implies. However there's a potential big reward on offer, because apart from anything else, whoever sent that infiltrator in will want them back. That means the agents could earn themselves Excessive Funds, or at least one big, fat, favor from a Vampire program like China's Room 452. The agents will need to move very quickly to pull this off, since it's only a matter of time before the infiltrator is put somewhere even the agents can't break into.

For a Dracula Dossier variant, the agent is from Edom, and might even be a Prince. Pearl is the obvious choice, but Tyler and Elvis are strong contenders. If this happened, then Edom will be very eager to get them back. However it raises a third red flag: was the Prince betrayed by a mole within Edom, or is this an elaborate attempt to defect?


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