Sunday, 9 February 2020

The Funeral (NBA, Dracula Dossier)

This week's post is based loosely on the life & career of 'Mad Mike' Hoare, who recently died at the age of a hundred. His wartime career spanned the world war, the cold war, and some present day shenanigans, all of which goes to show you should never mess with a chartered accountant.

Thomas Michael Hoare, born in India, was sent by his Irish parents back to the UK for his further education in 1927, at the age of eight. Though trained in accountancy what he really wanted was to be a soldier, and he got his opportunity when war broke out in 1939. He joined the Territorials, became a small-arms expert, successfully completed officer training and rose up the ranks, ending his world war fighting Japanese in Burma with the Chindits, guerrilla warfare experts.

Finding post-war life as a chartered accountant dull, Hoare moved to South Africa with his young family, going on a motorcycle tour of the continent in 1950, searching for the Lost City of the Kalahari. From there it was a short step to the battlefield again, and an encounter with Moise Tshombe, a Congolese politician who would become prime minister in 1964, forced out in 1965, led to Hoare becoming a mercenary leader fighting against communist-backed troops. It's this Congo conflict that gives Hoare his nickname; communist radio broadcasts described him as 'that mad bloodhound Hoare,' a description he delighted in.

He came out of the Congo conflict with an illustrious reputation that would later be captured on film in The Wild Geese, where he was fictionalized as Richard Burton's Colonel Faulkner. The Wild Geese was Hoare's name for his Congo mercenary group.

He seemed to have retired after this, but embarked on a mad adventure to 'rescue' the Seychelles from its communist government in 1981. He and a group of grey-haired gunmen, disguised as a bunch of tourists, tried to fly in, but the plan all fell apart when Customs agents found a folded-up AK-47 in someone's bag. One abortive shootout later, Mad Mike and some of the survivors flew out to South Africa, where Mike found a prison cell waiting for him. His stay in jail was not prolonged, and he spent the rest of his life travelling, writing, and filming or being filmed. He died in South Africa on the 2nd of February, aged 100.

From a Night's Black Agents perspective, here you have a gun for hire who's seen out some of the major conflicts of the Cold War, the World War, and the modern era. If Edom wasn't hovering in the background someone certainly was, else why and how does a man who put himself in harm's way so often live to be a hundred?

So, to gamify:

The Funeral

A legend is dead. The funeral's this week, but Edom has much work to do before that happens.

The legend is the last survivor of the Carmilla Sanction, who went on to have a bloody and spectacular career as a mercenary in Africa throughout the Cold War. Cameroon, Congo, even Rhodesia - wherever a nationalist, and preferably Communist, government tried to seize power, there was the legend right in the thick of it. He helped Edom more than once, and was a known British intelligence asset, but despite the worst war could throw at him, the man wouldn't die. He even formed his own PMC in the late 1960s, RiskControl, though that ended in an embarrassing mess in Sierra Leone, when RiskControl failed to prevent Siaka Stevens regain the Presidency. The legend's financial backers deserted him, and his Edom connections weren't much help.

Disgruntled, the legend went into semi-retirement, though he was drawn out in the early 1980s - or so they say. He's supposed to have been a minor player in the investigation that led to the capture of the Rainy Night Butcher in Hong Kong, though few could understand why someone like him should abandon his African haunts for Hong Kong. Only the higher-ups in Edom know the full story of China vampire program Room 452's involvement in that affair, or why Triad gangsters were offering large sums of money for an experienced vampire hunter, no questions asked. It was allegedly his last hurrah, and it went like a dream.

Except that he was grabbed by Chinese authorities as he made his departure, and spent eight years in prison. Not that he was bitter, or wrote a scathing memoir about his intelligence operations and the failure of his superiors after his release. It was never published in English, but is well known in the Chinese-speaking world. One publishing house that tried to make an English language translation mysteriously burned down, with the publisher inside. The rumor mill differs as to whether than was a British or Chinese attempt to stifle the truth. Anyone with Vampirology knows the story, and someone with Vampirology and Tradecraft knows who burned down the publishing house. There's also a 1998 schlock film, Trust Me U Die Twice, in which the legend's reimagined as a CIA rogue agent who gets killed in the penultimate scene.

When the legend was an operator it was standard practice that, on the operator's death, Edom would conduct an autopsy and complete cleansing of the operator's personal effects. It was wartime. Nobody really knew what long-term physical effects prolonged exposure to Seward Serum would have, and in any case nobody wanted Edom's secrets to be accidentally discovered by their next of kin, or, worse yet, their landlady. Edom's insisting on its rights, and sending in the agents along with some helpful Director characters - the Pathologist, Phlebotomist, Serum Researcher, perhaps the E-Squadron Veteran as minder - to take the legend apart and see what there is to see, as well as strip his home, nursing home and anywhere else he's recently been right down to the floorboards. Grieving family be damned - this is Defense of the Realm stuff.

Except nobody knows where the body is ...


Last Flight of the Wild Geese: The legend still has contacts in the mercenary world, and he knew Edom would come looking for his corpse. He arranged for his body to be retrieved by some of his comrades, now septuagenarians (at the youngest), and buried in some easy-to-overlook South African beauty spot. They might be elderly, but they're combat veterans and prone to extreme violence. No supernatural element here, though there might be a few Chinese intelligence assets in the background; Room 452 just wants to make sure the old sod really is dead. Of course, if the Director wants a supernatural element, there's always old Roland ...

Hopping Away: How does someone become a Jiangshi? The legend knows - now. All those years ago in Hong Kong, he was possessed briefly by a wicked, unclean spirit. He thought he'd thrown off that curse, but it turns out spirits are harder to deal with than he thought. The Jiangshi inside the legend's body wants revenge for the Rainy Night hunt, and is after the legend's friends and family. How fortunate for it that all the people it wants to kill have gathered in South Africa for the funeral.

Advanced Persistent Threat 452: All those years ago, China didn't capture the legend - Room 452 recruited him. Already angry with his former colleagues, the legend accepted their job offer and helped train some of China's best vampire killers. The legend isn't dead; his life has been prolonged by Room 452's version of the Seward Serum. However, Room 452 knew it couldn't carry on the deception much longer. People were beginning to gossip about the gunman who wouldn't die. The funeral is Room 452's chance to lure some of Edom's top talent into a trap, and either infect their computers with malware that they'll take back to base or, even better, capture or turn the Pathologist, Phlebotomist or Serum Researcher. Who better to lead the operation than the legend himself ...  


No comments:

Post a Comment