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Old 04-29-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
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Default Tactical Shooting: Singing the Cold War Berlin Blues

"It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, longstanding American concepts of `fair play' must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us."

-Gen. James Doolittle et al on the Panel of Consultants on Covert Activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, 18th of October 1954.


The setting is Berlin at the height of the Cold War. The city is a hotbed of intrigue that is nominally divided into four occupied sectors, the Soviet, British, French and American sectors. The far more important division, of course, is into East and West Berlin, the Free West and Communist East or the fascisti capitalistic stooges in the West and the People’s Democratic Republic in the East.

Berlin is the City of Spies, the City of Secrets and the City of Danger. The constant threat of warfare looms over the world as a whole as the superpowers circle each other warily. No one in Berlin has any illusions about the eventual fate of the city in the event of such a war, regardless of who won it. For the briefest of moments, it would be the front line of the War to End All Wars and then it would be no more. Perhaps it is because of this shared knowledge that the city is so vibrant and alive. Everyone spies on everyone and some say that one in every four citizens makes some extra money from the espionage trade. Freelancers and stringers look for the big secret that they can sell to rich Americans, West Germans spy on East Germans, East Germans spy on West Germans, NATO and the Soviets spy on their enemies and allies alike, East Germans spy on each other and the Israelis spy on literally everyone, but particularly those with connections to the ‘old’ Germany.

The war seems particularly close right now. It is the end of October in 1956 and Hungary has just declared itself a free and independent nation. Diplomats deliberate while Soviet tanks mass on the borders. There is war in the Middle East and the rumours say that NATO is engaged against a Soviet satellite state and the inevitable counterattack cannot be long in coming. Now, more than ever, it is vital that the intelligence organs of their respective governments can provide accurate and timely information on the intentions, capabilities and actions of the other side. After all, it could be used for targeting.

The KGB maintains a huge force of intelligence officers and support staff at the infamous building complex at Karlhorst. Their commander is the austere, honourable and disciplined Gen. Yevgeny Petrovich Pitovranov, a man who is apparently without flaws or weaknesses. He lives only to serve the Rodina. Before he accepted this post, he was head of the Counter-Intelligence Directorate of the MGB, the predecessor to the KGB.

In addition to the KGB, the Soviet military has a large intelligence organisation of its own, the GRU, also located at Karlshorst and it seems that every other military initiative or special program has its own intelligence section or purpose. This is Berlin; espionage is a way of life.

For some, it is not only a way of life, it is a calling. Some men are born to scheme in the ineffable wilderness of mirrors, where truth is not only illusionary, it is all-but irrelevant. One such man is Markus Wolf, an up and coming East German intelligence officer whom the Gen. Pitovranov trusts implicitly. Wolf runs the foreign intelligence directorate, HVA, of the budding East German Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, commonly known by its German abbreviation, the Stasi, in everything but name. As far as Gen. Pitovranov is concerned, if he continues to perform as brilliantly as he has in the past, he will soon have the title to go with his responsibilities. The cooperation between KGB and HVA is exemplary and fruitful, as Wolf proves able to penetrate the newly established West German government with consummate ease and provide invaluable information on NATO military preparedness.

As far as Gen. Pitovranov is considered, Generalmajor Karl Linke, the man in charge of the Verwaltung für Allgemeine Fagen or the senior officer of the Military Intelligence Service of the National People's Army, might just as well be replaced with a mule in uniform. This means that he can neither trust nor rely on this extensive organisation, which unfortunately is mostly entrusted with the counter-intelligence security of Germany.

The Stasi also has a whole three directorates with some form of counter-intelligence brief, but all of them have so far lacked the inspired leadership of a man like Markus Wolf. They are loyal, well-funded and extremely numerous, but their operations do not have that organisational flair that Wolf seems able to call upon at will. Until now, perhaps. A young officer in Administration 12, the directorate that shares joint responsibility with the army’s loyalty with the army’s own Military Intelligence Service, has come to the attention of Pitovranov’s staff through handling a series of routine inquiries with superb professionalism and occasional flashes of devilish cunning that allowed the Stasi to break a ring of low-ranking officers who had been co-opted by smugglers.

On the surface, this man, Emanuel Kline, was an unlikely candidate for a New Soviet Man, a genuine Socialist Hero. He was slight to the point of frailness, with a narrow and untrustworthy face marred by childhood pock-marks and a posture that contrived to make his uniform look ill-fitting and slovenly at all times. He was also an intellectual, with degrees in history and economics. Not only was he ill-favoured in looks and interests, but he had been one of the rare Germans who avoided military service in the war by fleeing to neutral Switzerland. To most soldiers of the Red Army, a hated fascisti soldier was at least an enemy to be feared. A deserter was a coward and weakling, less than a man.

Gen. Pitovnarov did not allow such unprofessional sentiments to colour his view of the young man’s skills. Besides, he happened to know that during the Great Patriotic War, the young man had been providing information to the NKGB, a precursor organisation to his own. A young man of moral courage, then, if not physical hardiness and a Marxist of enough fervour to choose ideology over nationality. In this country, for all that it might be the birthplace of Karl Marx, that was rare enough to be treasured. The General harboured no illusions about the ideological allegiance of most of his German ‘allies’. They had driven their tanks within sight of Moscow for their Vaterland and they had not forgotten this in ten years any more than the Rodina had. There was a reason, after all, why the Soviet liaison officers who effectively ran most of the Stasi had more of them watching each other than anything else.

The General decided that he would approve this young officer's request. He’ll allow Kline to select his own men, if he wishes, but he’ll make the determination for his KGB liaison himself. If Herr Kline lacks the intestinal fortitude for the work, he might benefit from the company of Starshiy Leytenant Oleg Ivanovich Kolchek. There was a man who could be trusted without reservation or second thoughts. Loyalty to the State and to the secret police apparatus that protected this state had been bred into his sturdy peasant bones. The son of a loyal Chekist who marked his own life as having truly begun when he had reverently taken a Yankee S&W 4.2-line revolver from the hand of his Chekist uncle and promised to wield it in defence of his country always. That gun now belonged to Starshiy Leytenant Kolchek and had been used by him to execute at least seven Enemies of the People that Gen. Pitovnarov knew about.

When the KGB was called the Sword and Shield of the Party, it was men like Kolchek that people thought about. Along with absolute loyalty, he’d also inherited bull-like strength, unthinking courage and the ability visit violence upon his fellow men without qualms or pangs of conscience. Every general dreams of commanding men who value victory over their own lives and who never flinch nor hesitate in doing what is necessary. The intelligent among them realise that those people who do lack all sense of self-preservation or conscience are usually seriously disturbed. Yet Kolchek is not disturbed. Perhaps the word he is looking for is empty. Yes, Kolchek is an empty vessel that has been filled with loyalty to his superiors.

Gen. Pitovnarov envied him his uncomprehending clarity, even while he understood that the only difference between Kolchek and the worst of the fascisti was the honour and rectitude of the men who gave him orders. That was the burden he must assume. Even when the path was painful and his doubts came in the night, he must be there to think and to feel on behalf of others who carried out orders, so that he might be sure that they were never turned against the People again. Perhaps, if the long-forgotten God of his childhood was good, Herr Kline might be another who could bear that burden with him.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:38 AM   #2
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Default NATO Intelligence

Facing the Sword and Shield of the Party and their fraternal Socialist allies are the diverse intelligence organisations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and their (sometimes) friendly neighbours and allies. The financially strapped British lay claim to having the proudest history of intelligence work and to the best tradecraft in their storied Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). The French, who gather foreign intelligence under the auspices of their Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE) fiercely dispute that claim, with some justice, in addition to claiming expertise in direct action and commando raids utilised as a natural extension of diplomacy and statecraft. The Israelis are less than ten years old as a nation and have only a few qualified officers to cover a whole world, but few could doubt that they have the best of motivations, whether one leans towards vengeance or prevention of future harm by superior intelligence as that motivation.

The locals, as well, if only by virtue of their logistical advantages in doing the business in their backyard, are an important piece of the intelligence puzzle. The Federal Republic of Germany, or Bundesrepublik Deutschland, had been declared fully sovereign with great fanfare only the previous year. This meant, among a number of other things, that it was now responsible, in name at least, for its own defence and security. Considering the number and power of NATO military forces within the country, as well as the great numbers of spies and security officers, this was a particularly polite fiction. Nonetheless, the newly sovereign state promptly undertook to meet this challenge.

Shortly after the establishment of the state in 1949, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), or the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, was founded. This agency is responsible for ensuring the security of the West German state from external threats to their Constitution, particularly Communist infiltration from the East. Considerably more successful and experienced is Gen. Reinhard Gehlen's espionage organisation, newly re-christened Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), but still known to a lot of people by its Nazi-era appelation, Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost. Largely composed of former Nazis and high-ranking officials from the Third Reich, this organisation was both fanatically anti-Communist and had years of experience in working against the Soviet Union. The Americans, especially in the early years of occupation, relied heavily on information from their files and the cooperation of their experienced agents and analysts.

Regardless of any lack of expertise, espionage culture or history, it is nevertheless a fact that the intelligence service that can afford to throw around the most money in Berlin is the Central Intelligence Agency. The Company, as it is known to insiders, has not only one station in West Germany, but sometimes up to a half dozen. The embassy houses scores of spies, as do the military bases around the country and various safehouses. Émigré operations into the Balkans and the Ukraine, for example, all go through Germany. In fact, most of the Eastern Europe operations are either run through Germany or at least make use of resources or support from there in some way.

The heart and soul of the Company’s presence in Germany is indubitably located in Berlin, though. With working quarters for the Chief of Station in a luxurious mansion and offices all around town, some of them just a stone’s throw away from the border, Berlin Operational Base is without a doubt the pulsating heart of the Cold War. And with a pudgy digit pressed to the pulse, is the man many senior administrators of the CIA would probably claim is aptly characterised as big fat embolism choking the life out of the Company, the one, the only, Mr. William King Harvey.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:31 AM   #3
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Default The Chief of Berlin Operational Base

One might choose one of several terms to describe Big Bill Harvey, Esq. The British would no doubt be able to call him 'eccentric', as his father was a moderately successful lawyer from Indiana, and he therefore fulfils the traditional means test for escaping a less dignified appellation. His own countrymen are more likely to use ‘colorful’ or ‘a real character’, but to use any of these terms is to criminally neglect an opportunity to make apt use of that underused gem ‘mad as a hatter’. And Harvey is, indeed, gloriously, utterly demented. Deranged. Bedlam.

He is a paranoid alcoholic and an alcoholic paranoid who won’t touch lunch until he has downed at least five fortifying concoctions, he collects weaponry of all sorts and leaves it lying around his office and various safehouses. He wears at least two pistols at all times and has a standing policy that any man working under him must draw a firearm, to be kept at him at all times. He refuses to disarm no matter where he went and once dropped a pistol on the floor of a crowded café and didn’t display an ounce of shame or self-confidence when the waitress brought it to him later. In short, he is the kind of imbalanced adrenaline-addicted Neanderthal who was equally likely to start World War Three by drunken accident or testosterone-fuelled gunplay antics.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Big Bill is also a genius at intelligence work. The copious amount of drink he consumes hardly dulls the brilliance of his mind, which has an uncanny gift for delving into the darkest and most closely held secrets of others. Harvey, like the Shadow, knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men and mostly, he’s not impressed. He can sniff out moles and defectors like few men in the CIA and it was due to his success at fingering Adrian ‘Kim’ Philby that he was assigned to this plum posting.

Harvey learned his ropes with the FBI, working the counterintelligence beat during the War. There are conflicting stories about the conditions under which he left there, with malicious tongues whispering that his drinking was the root cause, but Harvey himself asserting to anyone who would listen that Director Hoover hisself had fired him for ‘not maintaining the strict standards of personal grooming and appearance that a Special Agent of the United States Government must be expected to demonstrate at all times’. As Harvey is almost a 100 pounds overweight, perpetually badly shaved and combed, dresses in jeans and jackets a size too large and doesn’t change his clothing unless something stains them so he can’t help but notice, this version of the story is surprisingly credible.

The enormous number of freelance stringers in the intelligence business means that a vast amount of mail and phone calls is sent to the Berlin Operational Base. An ungodly lot of it is addressed to him, personally, his identity as the Chief of Station not being a particularly well kept secret in a city that leaks like a sieve in all directions. He has a staff to deal with that, but few of them are confident enough to send an angler packing without checking with Harvey if the bastard just has the audacity to demand to speak only with the Chief. As a result, an unavoidable, but infuriating part of his day has to be spent on reviewing all sorts of purported information coups coming from amateurs hoping for a big payday. Occasionally, though, an unsolicited phone call or other contact does show promise and Harvey can send one of his officers to have a little nibble, after a strict word in their ear about not letting anyone jerk them about.

That was the case with Joel Vortisch, an occasionally useful stringer who was in the business of smuggling people East-to-West and contraband the other way. He claimed that he had been in contact with a member of East Germany’s Military Intelligence Service who had expressed a willingness to defect. As his position was sensitive and the information he had access to very valuable, this man claimed that he was often shadowed by agents of the internal security branch of the MIS. This explained why he was unable to have any contact with Western intelligence officers unless the meeting were carefully planned and in a very safe location.

With a shrug, Harvey decided to allow Dave Connor to handle this. He should be able to set up a meet with Vortisch in a West Berlin safehouse and get all the information that he claimed to be ‘unable to discuss over a phone line, even a purportedly secure one’. Most likely old Joel was just trying to sell them castles in the sky, but the chance that they might get their hands on a defector with access to sensitive information had to be taken. Losing a manila envelope full of dollars would be regrettable, but that was what dollars were for. Connor was a Yale-boy and hence a nattering imbecile, but despite that considerable handicap, the boy showed some promise. Decisive and bold, at least, even if he might be too dumb to be scared yet and still wet behind the ears from his mother’s bathwater. Harvey chucked. Dripping wet from that moustache too, if the stories were anything to go by.
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:47 AM   #4
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Default Diamonds in the Rough

Going over the debrief from Davey Connor’s last meet, Harvey couldn’t help but smile. The boy had done good in his first contact with Joel Vortisch and brought back a dangling lure fit to land a fat carp. Vortisch claimed that this defector was Oberfeldwebel Hans Franck and that he was assigned to the communication centre for the Ministerium für Nationale Verteidigung. He also gave Connor a transcript that he claimed was a coded transmission and the decrypted translation.

Harvey had sent it off to his archivist section as soon as he got it the day before yesterday, hoping to find a match in the archived raw data from the Tunnel, what the wags liked to call Harvey’s Hole, especially after the damn Russkies had made such a big deal about revealing it when they found it. The crypto-geeks said that the using the translation he gave them as a crib, they were getting useful results from a certain old code and that they were 60% confident that this was a real decrypt. Big Bill gave a dark chuckle when he heard that. Just as long as you’re sure.

Even with such a lukewarm endorsement, Harvey lost no time in authorising Connor to lay in the piping for the extraction. Franck claimed that he was in East Berlin for a week to meet family and that he had to cross the border before his vacation was up. Even an off-chance that he was really a code clerk for central army communication meant that this was suddenly the most important thing on everyone’s desk. Or would be, if Harvey ever let anyone see it who wasn’t specifically needed for the operation. At the moment, the only ones who needed to know the full story were himself and the kid. The Watchers knew what they saw and nothing more. They didn’t get names for the people they watched and they didn’t need names.

Davey Connor worked like a man possessed and turned in a raw draft of an operational draft that very day. Big Bill had reviewed his plans with a gimlet eye, only to find nothing wrong with them. His Watchers would infiltrate in the afternoon, using another smuggler than Joel Vortisch. Not that they didn’t trust him, but, well, they didn’t trust him. Davey and three drunk men belonging to the staff of the US Embassy in Bonn would then drive over the border openly, using his diplomatic passport. They’d do some touristy sight-seeing and then visit the brothel that usually served as the cover story for such night-time crossing. Davey, of course, would have rolled out of the car as it passed a particularly hard to watch corner and made his way to the safe house. Then he’d conduct his business and meet the embassy car again on another corner which offered little in the way of surveillance opportunities.

The actual extraction would use a similar method, except that the embassy car would be French, not American. The French diplomat who sometimes obliged them by allowing them to ride in his car when he had business in East Berlin did not to Big Bill’s knowledge work for the SDECE. He did, however, have a Polish wife who was quite sure that the Soviets who occupied her homeland were every bit as bad as the Nazis who had once occupied his. Another difference was that instead of Connor meeting back up with the car, only Hans Franck would cross in the diplomat’s car, safely lodged in the trunk. French diplomats, as indeed all NATO diplomats, ignored the Vopo border stations as beneath their notice as a matter of principle and anxious to be seen to respect diplomatic niceties, the East German authorities had allowed this state of affairs to persist while they were trying for international recognition.

The boy had just checked in, around 0130. His first solo meet in East Berlin had gone well. Franck had come to the safe house on time and the Watchers said they were sure he wasn’t followed. This time he didn’t have a sexy folder with secret files, but he did impart an astonishing amount of during his chat with Connor. He gave credible answers to the list of questions Harvey had asked him to meet, neither too unfamiliar with his supposed past to feel amateurishly fake nor too pat and certain, so that he felt like he was going through a legend. Davey Connor conscientiously made the point that a false-flag defector probably would be instructed to hem and haw a bit, but also said that in his judgment, Oberfeldwebel Hans Franck was as kosher as latke. Big Bill grinned as he recognised one of his own sayings.

Harvey also knew that even if the defector was false, they’d bring him over anyway. There were two reasons for that. First was that a false defector had to give a certain amount of true information to establish his bona fides if he hoped to be able to reliably feed his targets misinformation. It should be possible to carefully check information that a defector gives against secondary sources and thus sift the wheat from the chaff. The second reason was harder to grasp, but understanding it was key to understanding the business of intelligence. It was that listening to a man lie could give you almost as much information as listening to him telling you the truth. By hearing what lies a false defector told and how he told them, a canny listener, such as Big Bill fancied himself, could learn many things. For one, he could learn what Moscow Centre wanted him to think.

Harvey leaned back in his chair and poured another generous slug of VAT 69 into his plastic glass. It was a grand game, intelligence. Perhaps the grandest game of all. And while someone could consider it insane to risk the lives of several men for a reward that might be nothing more than getting to listen to someone lie to you, Harvey knew better. Just as the natural purpose of dollars was to be spent in order that the Company might better defend America from its enemies, so the natural purpose of local agents and junior officers was to be risked for the same goal.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:32 AM   #5
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Default Gonna Fly Now

Big Bill wished profoundly that if this World War was ever going to come, it could hurry up and do it any time now. At least soon enough so that he does not have to visit the bathroom again, on account of being composed only of vaporised particles rapidly leaving each other’s vicinity. Nothing could be worse than having to go through that again, he thought. Leaking from not one, but two ends at the same time was not only undignified, it was also hellish torment. Harvey is too sick to be able to drink and that means he’s far too sick to be able to work, but when he saw Connor’s message, he called the boy in to his living quarters for a meeting nonetheless.

He was prepared; you had to give him that. He answered every question quickly and concisely, having expected and overcome every objection that Harvey could reasonably make. He was aware of the likelihood that a changed meeting place meant treachery, but felt that the potential reward justified taking that risk. The new location didn’t invalidate using the French embassy car to take Franck out of the Soviet sector and he had already made arrangements to have the smugglers pick the rest of the team up at another location closer to the meeting place. Connor had also had already drawn heavy weaponry for himself and wanted Harvey’s approval for getting assigned a team of competent men and a blank check for kit.

For his security team, he chose two of Harvey’s best Watchers, the cherubim, an angelic little Gypsy fellow with haunted eyes and a sharp knife who went by the codename Cherub and a deadly former guerrilla from the Carpathian mountains who’d sniped down Russians, Poles, Germans and Ukrainians in his unending quest for self-determination for some tribe no one could remember but him. For his mop of blond hair and the Arcadian simplicity of his trustworthy face, he’d been codenamed Cupid. For his German interpreter, Connor wants the fellow whom the Company used to train Balkan émigrés in small unit tactics and infantry skills, codename Hessian. Harvey grins at the thought. The boy is bringing a bloody German shock trooper along and calling him an interpreter. Still, it’s just good sense to be prepared. The damn war might break out while he’s there and then he’ll be glad to have someone who can use a gun instead of someone who can quote bloody Heine and bloody Goethe.

Under normal circumstances, Harvey would direct the extraction himself. But in his current condition, he’d be more help to the Stasi than to Connor and Hans Franck. Harvey tries to convince Connor to accept someone else in command of the operation, but Connor is adamant. He’d have lain down for Harvey, secure in the knowledge that under his command, nothing could possibly go wrong, but he wasn’t about to let any of the other officers in BOB take this away from him. This was his defector, his operation and his spurs to win. Besides, both men knew that the temperament to run a risky op like that resided in only a few men and none of them had the advantage of having already met the defector.

The Deputy Chief of Station, who in the legitimate absence of Bill Harvey had the authority to take over the operation, that is, if they decided to share the fact of its existence with him, had not yet been informed. In Davey Connor’s case, this was because he was fully aware that DCoS David Murphy was a cautious man who was likely to weigh the risks of the operation against the unknown rewards and scotch the venture entirely. In the case of Bill Harvey it was because he’d be damned if he gave up even an inch of command, no matter how sick he might be. And, thinking about it, he couldn’t see a reason to bring in a new officer. Sure, someone might be more experienced and even more capable, but he’d still require time to get caught up and Connor was ready to go today. And with things as they are in Egypt and Hungary, who can say how much time anyone has?

Harvey would rather have a precocious pup in command, one whom he could trust try to grab the golden goose and get out of there before the Russkies even knew why they should be going ape, than he’d trust this mission to an ass-covering time-server, who’d probably go over the Vopo checkpoint with a memorandum filled with bureaucratese already written, explaining how coming back with nothing but his Wiener in his hands should be construed as a long-term strategic success. There was a time for caution, but that time was sure-as-shooting not when Armageddon was heading for you at terminal velocity.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: Singing the Cold War Berlin Blues

See now THESE are characters. Slap some Quick-Change perks on there; if you can't indulge me in dual-wielding, try to include some New York Reloads.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: Singing the Cold War Berlin Blues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
See now THESE are characters. Slap some Quick-Change perks on there; if you can't indulge me in dual-wielding, try to include some New York Reloads.
I am very sorry, but I just find myself unable to justify Quick-Reload as it is written. Dropping a dry magazine, readying a new one, inserting it into the action and readying the gun for firing once again; all in 0.0 second flat (and hence usually while firing full RoF in the same turn) just doesn't feel realistic enough for me to include.

I know that some competition shooters can reload in less than one second, yes. I believe, however, that these men have acquired a specialised and rare skill that demands excrutiating hours of practice and that is probably not replicable on an actual battlefield. In other words, I think that if they didn't have a positive TDM of +4 or more, they would be unlikely to make the heavily penalised Fast-Draw roll required to pull this off.

I could perhaps get behind a Quick-Reload Perk that allowed the reduction of the reloading time from 3 seconds (2 with Fast-Draw (Ammo)) down to 1 second. But down to 0 feels wrong to me for something that characters can do in combat without an unpenalised Fast-Draw (Ammo) roll.

To ease your pain somewhat, every character has some trainining in tactical reloads and quick transitioning to a secondary weapon. They are also armed to the teeth.

Character briefs and their equipment coming up. I'd welcome comments on their histories, if anything seems out of place. Same for their equipment.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #8
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Default Team Leader: Cowboy

David R. Connor
Codename Cowboy

David is tall, handsome and athletic. He has strawberry-blond hair and cultivates a dashing moustache to appear older. By natural inclination, he is bold, decisive and resourceful, as well as being constitutionally unable to concede defeat. Berlin is a tough beat, though, and he’s had to learn a modicum of circumspection and caution during the six months he’s spent there. Even so, David still allows himself dreams of grand gestures, heroism and audacity in confronting the hated Communists. He regards the moral superiority of the free Western World as self-evident and has little understanding or sympathy for counter-cultural ideas about mutual disarmament that are beginning to emerge.

David is the oldest son of Andrew G. Connor (1905-1943), an OSS officer captured and executed by Germans in Yugoslavia while working with partisans during the war. David grew up in Providence, Rhode Island with his mother and three younger siblings. His hobbies as a child and teenager included comics, boxing and spending time on his maternal grandfather’s grand Virginia estate. His family was well-to-do, but the death of his father, who had been a promising lawyer, had left his mother far less well-off than in the years preceding the war. The money stretched to a good college education, though, and David studied business and political science at Yale. There, his hobbies extended to include also wine, women and song, with a particular appreciation for and emphasis on women. Connor graduated in 1955 with a respectable, if not outstanding, grades and immediately joined the Central Intelligence Agency, to the keen disappointment of his grandfather, who had been hoping that the boy might consider a career in law.

He’s been in Berlin for almost six months now, working for the legendary Chief of Berlin Station, William King Harvey. He idolises Harvey and has taken to his habits of pugnacious paranoia, including wearing at least two pistols at all times, with considerable gusto. The CIA has trained him well for this important posting in its elite Soviet Russia Division and shortly before he arrived in Berlin he went through a three month commando course where he learned the skills needed to roll back world Communism, one émigré uprising at a time. This extraction is his first time in solo command of a major operation in East Berlin and he is anxious to prove to his mentor that he is worthy the trust placed in him.

Equipment:
Concealed Carry Black Leather Jacket (DR 1*; Holdout +3, Weight 4 lbs.); Parachute boots (DR 2*, Hiking +1, Weight 3 lbs.); Western jeans and blue-black flannel shirt; Expensive Silk-and-steel custom Dunrite Bulletproof Vest (DR 6, Holdout (+4-6) -2, Covers 9-10, Weight 6.8 lbs.); Colt National Match Automatic .45 ACP pistol (Fine (Reliable); Acc 3) with high-visibility sights in shoulder holster (left); 2 7-rd .45 ACP magazines in magazine pouch under right armpit; AMC M26 grenade in left leather coat pocket; AMC M34 WP grenade in right leather coat pocket; ‘Fitzed’ (2” barrel) S&W Model 27 .357 Magnum revolver in undercover ankle holster (Dam 2d+2 pi, Acc 1, Bulk -1, Fast-Draw (-1+1-2) -2 for position, Weight 3.5 lbs.); Belt-buckle fine-quality push knife (Dam thr+1 imp, Holdout +4, Weight 0.25 lbs.); Personal basics for urban survival.
Total Weight: 28.65 lbs.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:58 AM   #9
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Default Close Protection: Cherub

Andrezej Horváth
Codename Cherub

Andrezej is a gypsy recruited in Romania. When the Red Army revealed that their policies towards the Roma people were no more favourable than the ones of the former masters of the land, Andrezej looked for a way out. He was able to convince an OSS officer, Frank Wisner, to take him on as a radio operator and in the service of the US, he eventually moved into occupied Germany.

A small and slight boy, no more than 5’4” and perhaps a 110 lbs. soaking wet, Andrezej is not one to inspire fear or horror. In fact, most people would overlook him on the street, as he is exceptionally good at seeming to be nothing more than another schoolboy or day-labourer. In this, he is helped by the fact that he still looks to be in his teens. If someone were to take a closer look at him, they’d notice that his withdrawn demeanour conceals an unprepossessing beauty. Thick raven curls frame his delicate face and his dark eyes are large and expressive. Looking into those eyes, however, shatters the illusion of a beautiful youth. They are haunted, there is no other word for it.

Andrezej is closed-mouthed about his past. In his 11-year service with US intelligence, only the following details have come out, and that in bits and pieces. He is much older than he looks, as he was apparently born in Spain to a Gitani mother and a Vlax father in 1928. His family travelled, usually between Spain, the south of France and Italy. When the Spanish Civil War started, his father was fought for the Republic. In 1937, Andrezej started running messages and moving supplies for his father’s band of guerrillas. He was present when his father was killed in an airstrike late that year. Along with a group of other Roma who did not wish to take part in the war, his mother and siblings left Spain as well, and Andrezej was forced to go against his furious objections.

Andrezej’s mother knew few people in France and did not like it there. She moved on to Italy, which eventually proved uncongenial and the next stop, in 1939, was Yuguslavia. For a few short years, the family was happy. Then came the Axis invasion of the country and they found themselves under German rule. As the harassment and repression of their people continued to mount, several of the group, most Gitanis, wanted to try to leave the country and try for neutral Spain, where the war had ended a long time ago. Andrezej’s mother, though, was unwilling to break German passport regulations, having seen far less severe transgressions punished with severe beatings.

In 1942, most of the family was transported to southern Poland, near the small town of Oświęcim where they were to be interned in a camp intended for families of non-Aryan background. The name of this camp was Section B11e and the town was at the time known by a German name, Auschwitz. Andrezej does not speak of what happened during the two years he spent at the camp.

On August 6th, 1944, Section B11e was dissolved. Andrezej was among those who were shipped to factories where they were expected to contribute to the war effort. He somehow managed to escape shortly afterwards and made his way to Bucharest, where he knew that his father had some family who might help him. He reached Bucharest after the coup in Romania had removed that country from the Axis side, but was unable to find any of his father’s family. One of the people he talked to, taking pity on the obviously dejected and lost boy, get him in contact with the Americans, whom he said were always looking for local interpreters. Andrezej didn’t speak much Romanian, but he had a very good reason to learn quickly and found ways to make himself so useful to the OSS that when they left the country, he followed them.

For three years between the end of the war and until the CIA finally started to build on the contacts left by the OSS, he found himself with little to do and survived by petty crime in the American occupation zone of Germany. When the CIA arrived in Germany, he found himself being used as a courier and watcher. He performed well enough to merit training in these skills, mostly getting it from the British in exchange for running the occasional errand for them as well. Andrezej learned well and became quite proficient at surveillance and counter-surveillance, so that eventually the SIS eventually tried to steal him away from the CIA. Andrezej was loyal, though, to the ones who had rescued him, and he had become captivated by the idea of being allowed one day to emigrate to America. For that he would need a tidy sum of money, however, many years of pay for his work as a watcher and courier.

With the hardening of the US position in 1950, the CIA’s de-facto strategy shifted from containment to rollback, even though this would not become official US policy for another three decades. As a consequence, Andrezej found himself trained in weaponry, explosives and covert action as preparation for his eventual role as ‘stay-behind’ if war erupted or, even more alarmingly, in preparation for sending him on some secret mission behind Soviet lines. He already had good reflexes and instincts and one of his trainers, a former Marine Raider, remarked that “he was a lethal little feller, sure ‘nuff”.

When William King Harvey arrived as Station Chief in early 1952, it did not take him long to discover Andrezej as one of his most loyal, courageous and competent agents. His poor German prevented him from doing much work in actually recruiting and running agents, but he had few peers as a surveillance expert, courier and, increasingly, Harvey’s bodyguard (of which he usually had several, advance and perimeter, as well as at least one doing close protection).

Equipment:
Expensive Brown Concealed Carry Overcoat (Holdout +5; Weight 3 lbs.); Moccasins (Stealth +1, 1 lbs.); East Berlin labourer’s outfit in tan and brown (Disguise +1, 2 lbs.); Ithaca Auto & Burglar 20G 2.5” shotgun (Weight-reduced by gunsmith) with No. 4 buckshot (Dam 1d(0.5) pi-; Range 30/600; RoF 2x20), muzzle down on an expensive one-point sling under the left shoulder (Holdout -3, Fast-Draw (Longarm) +0, Weight 4.8 lbs.); Escheverria Star Mod MD pistol in 7.63x25mm Mauser with high-visibility sights, stock and 16-rd extended magazine in Condition Three in custom cross-draw flap holster on right side (Holdout -3, Fast-Draw (Pistol) -2, Weight 4.2 lbs.); Good-quality Concealed LBV (+1 Holdout; -1 Fast-Draw (Ammo) with two 16-rd 7.63x25mm Mauser extended magazines, 2 32-rd 7.63x25mm Mauser extended magazines, 2 13-rd 9x19mm magazines and 6 No. 4 buckshot 20G shells (Weight 6 lbs.); FN-Browning High-Power 9x19mm Parabellum pistol in undercover holster in the small of the back (Holdout (-2+2) +0; Fast-Draw (Pistol) -2, Weight 3.4 lbs.); Navaja (folding knife) with 11” blade (Very Fine; Balanced) thrust into left side of belt (0.7 lbs.); Razor-sharp presentation coin (Knife skill, sw-4 cut, Weight neg.); Covert Survival Kit (Optimised for urban survival, so exchanging snares and fishing kits for $50 dollars, Weight 0.5 lbs.).
Total Weight: 25.3 lbs.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Location: Iceland*
Default Overwatch: Cupid

Marko Vasylovych Petrenko
Codename Cupid

An unassuming man of average build, Petrenko has a broad and trustworthy face, of which the worst that can be said that it is somewhat bucolic and placid. His hair is an ungovernable mass of blond curls and his eyes are a sky-blue colour. Petrenko is matter-of-fact about his skills with a rifle, claiming that every back home could shoot to bring home a little extra food. His peasant roots are also displayed in his attitude towards wealth, which he is inclined to hoard for a ‘rainy day’ that never seems to materialise. The Company appreciates his thrift and self-reliance; if not his occasional failures to return some of the equipment he is issued.

Marko is from the Carpathians, from a people called the Husuls, an ethnic group of mixed Ruthenian/Ukrainian ancestry who have long regarded themselves as separate from mainstream Ukrainian society. He was born in 1922 and has been fighting one enemy or another for most of his adult life. In 1939, he fought the incursions by the Red Army on his ancestral highlands along with his father, uncle and two brothers. The older males were veterans of the savage civil wars of 1918-1920, in Russian, Ukraine and Poland. They had not fought for reasons of political economy or support for the tsars, but simply to keep foreigners away from their isolated mountain fastnesses, no matter who might claim them in theory.

For this new conflict, the Husuls made common cause with some of the partisans opposing the USSR rule of Ukrainian and by 1941, the Petrenko family was part of a 200-strong partisan band of loose organisation. Marko had learned to shoot as soon as he learnt to walk and now he learned to apply his skills towards stalking man, the most dangerous prey. He excelled at it, proving able to kill with rifle, pistol, bayonet and knife with equal facility.

When the Germans were added to the laundry list of enemies that the Petrenkos faced, Marko did not find the mental adjustment difficult. Anyone encroaching on Husul land, no matter his language or professed political beliefs, was an enemy. This new enemy, though, fought hard and well. One of his brothers was killed in early 1942 and his uncle died later in the year. But with new enemies came new allies. The Soviets retreated under the pressure of German arms, but left partisan units and attempted to supply them as best they could. Others also ran supplies to the fighters behind the German lines, including the British and later the Americans. A Polish commando working for the British lived with the Petrenkos and their band for some months. He taught Marko about Morse code, explosives and how to counter modern threats on the battlefield. He also taught him how best to kill a man with a knife while making as little noise as possible.

Eventual victory against the Germans in 1944 brought no respite from fighting. The Soviets were back and now the Petrenkos had few allies. Marko’s father fell to the battle-hardened Red Army. Marko and his brother, who had now taken over leadership of the band, fought on even as the World War drew to a close. Their followers were fewer and fewer, but those who remained were veteran stalkers of men who knew every inch of their chosen hunting grounds. Finally, in 1949, the Red Army was able to trap the Petrenko’s band and kill the majority of them in a hard-fought last stand. Marko was one of few who survived, but his brother did not.

Hearing from the few remaining anti-Soviet forces that the Americans were starting to consider the Soviets an enemy as dangerous as the one they had fought in the War, Marko set out to find himself some new allies. Through a desperate journey that he dismisses with a self-deprecating grin, he managed to reach neutral Sweden and get in contact with the American embassy there. At first, they had little idea of what to do with him, but an OSS veteran working there got him in contact with the fledgling Company.

Marko was debriefed and asked if he would consider returning to the Carpathians to spy on the Soviet Union. He said that he preferred to return to fight them, if the US would supply him with ammunition, explosives and medical supplies. This caused some consternation in the upper echelons of the Company, until the new CIA policy of aggressive anti-Communist rollback was adopted. Marko was trained as a saboteur and guerrilla. Eventually, he would be dropped into the Ukraine from a low-flying plane along with other émigrés. A badly broken leg in a practice jump put paid to his first intended mission and the capture of another agent caused his next scheduled mission to be abandoned. Marko’s skills as a guerrilla eventually led to him being used as an instructor for a team of Albanians assigned the mission of killing Enver Hoxha, the Communist Supreme Leader and Prime Minister that country.

Dropping émigrés with commando and saboteur training into the Ukraine proved fruitless, in the Agency’s opinion. Their records showed that every single one had either failed to check in again after their jump, meaning either that they had been killed within moments of landing or that they had abandoned their Western allies of convenience, or had included a tell-tale in their first transmission indicating that they had been captured and were being played back. To Marko Petrenko’s rage and disillusionment, the Company refused to send him back to his beloved Carpathians at this time.

Since then, he spent a few years training other Ukrainian émigrés or others with whom he shared a common language. He might be disappointed in his American allies, but he had few other places where he could go. Open resistance in the Carpathians was effectively at an end and if he wanted his people to be free of the Russians, he would have to work to bring down the whole structure of the Soviet Union.

Once the people in charge émigré operations found out that Marko had an ear for languages, he found himself working as an interpreter from time to time. He also proved to be perceptive and patient, two valued traits for Watchers, of which the Company could always use more. Using binoculars and a notebook, he did more damage to the Soviet cause in days than he’d done in the entire war, or so his handlers confidently assured him. David Murphy, the Deputy Chief of Berlin Operational Base was so impressed at his abilities that he managed to poach him away from the émigré ops and into BOB. Adapting his particular talents to city streets proved a challenge for Marko, but he had long ago given up the idea that anything in this life was meant to be easy.

Equipment:
Zeltbahn poncho in dark grey (Holdout +4, Camouflage +1, Weight 3 lbs.); Sneakers (Stealth +1, 2 lbs.); East Berlin labourer’s outfit in dark grey (Disguise +1, 2 lbs.); Winchester M2 .30 M1 carbine with M1A1 stock, high-visibility sights and expensive one-point sling (Bulk -4*, Weight 7.1 lbs.); 3 30-rd magazines of .30 M1 ammo in magazine pouch on the back (Fast-Draw (Ammo) -2, Weight 3.8 lbs.); Molot APS 9x18 Makarov autopistol in Condition Three using stock as holster on the right side of the belt (Holdout -3; Fast-Draw (Pistol) +0, Weight 3.9 lbs.); Leather double belt pouch on left side of belt with 4 20-rd magazines of 9x18mm Makarov (Holdout -2; Weight 3.8 lbs.); Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife in reversed sheath on chest (Fine (Materials and Balanced), Dam thr+1 imp or sw-1 cut, Weight 0.7 lbs.); Personal basics for urban survival.
Total Weight: 28.3 lbs.
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