The job: Leading peace talks between two Congolese warlords whose men are practically snarling at each other
- Sergeant Sam, a Street Samurai who flirts no matter the odds
- H.R., a bow-wielder whose social interactions are as convoluted as the path of a damaged arrow
- Eiger, a bodyguard troll badass enough to intimidate a tank
- Will I Am, a survivalist expert who is a mean drunk
- Mae, a face who knows exactly when to smile, nod and let others dig their holes
The troubleshooters got contacted all around the globe and sent on individual paths to the heart of the Congo Tribal Lands. Three flew in from Johannesburg with the same crazy pilot as last time, one got escorted by unwilling and disgruntled militia man, and the fifth got flown in from the UCAS and cargo-dropped down. After some confusing situations the team ended up together in the crazy pilot’s plane, taxying the last dozen clicks to their final destination. Even he was not crazy enough to fly into a potential warzone. It was then that they got greeted by tanks…
The team got contacted by their boss, who was tracking their locations and wondered why they weren’t in town yet. After the team explained the situation, and noted they still hadn’t been briefed and didn’t know what they were here for, the boss sighed and promised to take care of things. Soon after, the tanks decided it was in their best interest to let the team pass, who immediately convinced the tanks to give them rides instead.
When they got to town, the team got contacted by a man who was apparently their handler. He was stuttering and rushing, and they quickly surmised that the cause of his panicky behaviour was their boss ready to fire the poor sod. Literally. Inbetween his panic he managed to explain to them why they were here and what was expected of them.
There were two warlords in these parts, Carhel and Arland. Their territories were separated by a river, and the local town around this river was neutral ground. Upstream from the town was a big game reserve, which amongst other animals housed Africa’s only Black Lions. What made these majestic animals so special was that they were not Awakened themselves, instead they had simply mutated. Rich tourists loved coming here and taking pictures of the lions, so both Wild Life Incorporated and the local warlords made good money.
However, in recent days the warlords had been gathering their armies, not to protect their borders but around the river, ready to square off against each other… Such a war, no matter how brief, could be a big problem for the game reserve so Wild Life Incorporated wanted things settled peacefully. They had encouraged peace talks and Mae was to supervise these talks, while the rest kept her out of harm’s way. And maybe beat up anyone too problematic if really necessary.
The team got approached by one of Arland’s patrols, led by a man named Fresnel who ordered the team to come with him to Arland. While the team was willing to come along peacefully, Fresnel was still treating them in a rather hostile manner and that ended up setting the Uncouth people off. After a few barbs Fresnel lost it and shot Sam in the back. Due to restraint, plus Eiger being there to aid in intimidating, the situation didn’t escalate into a massacre and instead Fresnel simply ended with a bloody nose as payback.
Then a patrol from Carhel’s troops, led by a lady named Helena, came along. After Helena gleefully insulted Fresnel, she offered to play for tour guide for the team. H.R. going tourist (insisting on buying souvenirs for his new buddy ‘Buffy’, the murderous Cape Buffalo from last month) and buying a map, plus Helena’s explanations, helped clarify the layout of the area and the town. There was a hotel, a restaurant, a bar, and of course the building where the peace talks would be.
The building for the meet had its furniture set up in perfect ambush-style, so the team sighed and went at redecorating the place. They also tested the quality of the sturdy walls (conclusion: sturdy but Eiger could still punch through) and scanned the place with bugscanners and chemsniffers, retrieved from a supply crate at the hotel courtesy of Wild Life Incorporated. They also arranged for some security from both sides to make sure the site wasn’t tampered with again.
Next was the cause of the local unrest. As far as they could gather, the two warlords had simply been mobilizing and there had been a rising amount of paranoia and animosity towards each other on both sides. While some kept cool heads, such as Helena and her friend Claire who worked for Arland, others like Fresnel did not. And Arland’s advisor, Sydney, was apparently a rabid hive of paranoia bundled in a single man.
The team went for food at the restaurant and drinks at the bar, keeping their eyes and ears open. Here William heard troops of Carhel talk about how they had discovered Arland’s troops maneuvering to get a better strike position back when things first became tense, suggesting that Arland had started and Carhel had simply responded. But Sam overheard people of Arland saying the same thing about Carhel…
Then the team got a concerned call that Richard William Dickens IV was en route to visit the Black Lions. Given the tense situation, this meant he could be shot down, and such an act of violence could easily set off the powderkeg. So it was up to the team to take care of things. Helena helped them contact Carhel’s advisor Lisy, while Claire could give them the commcode of Alexis, one of Arland’s bodyguard. Quickly being passed on to both warlords, Mae explained the situation and despite Sydney shouting “It’s an ambush! They’re sending a commando strike team to take us all out!”, both warlords agreed to make anti-air stand down.
After this, Mae and H.R. decided to pay a visit to Sydney. They had a good inking of the cause of the situation now, so they figured going through the paranoid advisor was the best way to take care of things. Meanwhile, the rest of the team got boozed up, then went to the hotel. On their way there they got ambushed by Fresnel and his gang, who wanted to even the score in a brawl.
Mae and H.R. got to meet Sydney and Arland, after having been disarmed of course. Sydney was very paranoid about them and threatened them with a gun, while H.R. explained that he’d been in a situation where nobody believed him yet he was right recently, so he knew how Sydney felt. No, this did not mean they were here to kill one of the two warlords! H.R. simply meant that sometimes you are indeed getting played. Now with both sides convinced the other side was planning to strike first, the crisis had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So the question was, who had initiated the paranoia?
At that point Sydney realized exactly who to go for. ‘No, not the guy who told me Carhel was up to no good! We need the guy who put that guy up to it, isn’t that obvious?!’ Afterwards, both the team and Sydney contacted Carhel about their revelations and the two warlords secretly dealt with their traitors. While they did that, the team took a trip with Richie Rich to the Black Lions, got drunk and went to bed. The next day, everyone at the peace talks was extremely surprised when the two warlords shook hands, agreed all was settled now, and left. The only victims of the conflict? One person had choked in his vomit overnight, and another collapsed from some strange sickness during the peace talks…
The warlords shared their torture results with Wild Life Incorporated, who now had gathered all the pieces they needed to figure out their enemy. Which meant that now it was time for them to prepare for war. The runners flew off with Richard, while their boss started plotting a tale of sweet revenge…
Carhel had a cameo in Black Hearts when he showed up as one of the many guests attending the Grande Reopening Party of the Valhalla hotel.