Seattle Side Mission 02: Memories Past (Part 1)

Written by: Marius           Played on: 01 Jan 2012
PREVIOUS: Mission 06 – Profitable Catch
NEXT: Mission 07 – Big Trouble in Little China

This log ended up being written well after the fact by a player that hadn’t taken notes on the run at the time. As a result, the details are a little fuzzy.

This session was the first of a series of side missions run because Jade’s player couldn’t make it to our regularly scheduled game. This one changed the game up a bit and explored into Wheeler’s character a little bit, specifically his family history set during WWII.

Obviously (without some sort of crazy time travel contrivances) the players couldn’t take their characters back to WWII, so I had them play pre-generated soldiers with the run being staged as a “flashback” described in a journal entry. Wheeler played the role of his great, great, great grandfather, 2LT Benjamin Johanna. The others picked from the five remaining characters with Levi playing SGT Tex Jacobson (a medic from Alabama), Bear playing CPL Kyou Fujioka (a Japanese communications specialist), Cho playing PV1 Olaf Lang (a Dutch descended sniper) and Marius playing PV2 Sorley Morris (an Irish descended demolitions expert). Players earned karma for their regular characters rather than the ones they were playing (though, obviously, they didn’t earn any nuyen).

The character and equipment sheets the players could choose from can be downloaded here.

Theoretically, as many side missions as I wanted could be set in the WWII era with the soldiers jetting all over the theater to experience different parts of history. I do, however, have an end goal for the mini story arc over the next half dozen sessions or so. Depending on how often we end up playing it before the end of the current campaign, I may pad it with a few more sessions or compact a few sessions together to close the arc before the end of the campaign.

My father had passed away recently. At the memorial service, my mother gave me a box of things she thought I ought to have. Among my father’s keepsakes was a  physical, handwritten journal. I recognised the name on the cover as that of one of my ancestors,  my great-great-grandfather I think. I placed the other things aside and examined the journal more closely. The leather cover was worn and damaged, it cracked slightly as I opened it, dust falling from the dried pages.

Though this log entry ended up being written by Marius, he decided to write it from the perspective of Wheeler since it was primarily a story for him.

On the first page was a signature; Benjamin Johanna. A thicker pen and much darker ink filled in dates below. “1944-1946”. He must have filled in the dates later. A quote was also written in:

“I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed”

-Marco Polo, on his deathbed.

Flipping to the next page, I found a dedication:

“To my son, Patrick. I have joined the Army. Our nation is gripped in war, a cowardly attack on Pearl Harbor has forced President Franklin Roosevelt into Europe’s war. Instead of waiting around to be drafted, I have enlisted in the United States Army. I know that I could be off to my death in the defense of our great nation against this bold new threat. While I do not fear death; I would regret very much not being there to impart upon you the ways of the world. Should I die in the service of my country, this journal will be how I impart upon you the lessons I have learned over here.

With Love,

Your adoring father, 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Johanna.”

The journal entries continue through out basic training with the 82nd, at a place called Camp Claybourne in Louisiana. There are a few more entries made while on a troop ship headed for England. Turns out the 2nd Lt. was joining the division as a replacement for men killed in Africa and Italy. More still at an airfield in England while preparing for the Allied invasion of Europe.  The real meat and potatoes start about 12 entries in, the night before D-Day.

“5th of June. 1944 – I’m crammed into a plane with two dozen other kids from my unit. They have been drilling this operation plan into us for weeks. I could draw you a map of every AA emplacement and naval gun on the whole of the Normandy Coast. They assure us there are locators that will allow all of us to land in the same place in the dark. I can’t even see any other planes in the dark

We are to assemble with our units on the ground and take out our designated gun emplacements. Captain Thomas is leading our platoon, he is on another plane. As the senior officer on this plane I am the jump coordinator, it’s my job to make sure all the man are ready to jump when the red light lights, coordinate equipment checks and I also have the honor of being the first out of the plane.”

There was an obvious break in the writing, as if he had stopped and restarted at a later time.

We had no trouble seeing the other planes once the AA fire started. the sky was nearly as bright as day. A bunch of planes went down, some of them dropped their jumpers early, directly into German AA fire, some went down with full bellies.

Once on the ground I could not find any of my visual references, I had been dropped well away from the LZ. After linking up with a few other soldiers, some of which were from the 82nd though not my company, some of which were 101st guys out of the 502nd division and the 506. Once we were a group of four we began moving down a road. After a while we came to a fork, scouting along each direction a little ways I was able to determine our location, a good 15 kilometers from my original LZ. I made the command decision that these other troops and I would advance upon the objectives my platoon was to take. A naval battery,and two secondary AA targets.

The naval battery was our primary target, as that would cause a lot more trouble for the ships than an anti aircraft gun. Our path to my targets will take us past the occupied town of Carentan, then past the field that was my original LZ.

Another break in writing.

We have made it past the town, traveling was slow; even in the dark we had to keep off the road for fear of running into Nazi patrols. We bedded down for a few hours outside the perimeter of the naval battery. All the AA fire was done, there are no more drops tonight. I did not know if i was comforted by the silence or not.

The perimeter fence was about 50’ from the nearest structures, which were three large troop/supply tents. There was a more permanent bunker that housed the naval battery and a few stacks of crates covered in camo netting scattered throughout the area.

Our assault pitted us against a superior force, surprise was our ally here. We moved silently into the perimeter fence, in between patrolling guards, and moved forward using the crates as cover to stay out of sight. We simultaneously set off grenades at all the tents while opening fire on the patrols. It worked, we killed all the patrolling guards and no one emerged from the tents. We moved forward toward the bunker and took fire from the open doorway. Private Lang, Sgt. Tex and I provided suppressing fire while the Jap and Morris circled around to the left in a flanking maneuver. Once close they lobbed a grenade through the open door and neutralized the threat.

The two privates and I moved forward and took up a defensive perimeter around the door of the bunker while Morris and Fujioka kicked open the door and charged in. They announced that they were all clear and began the process of disabling the weapon. After about ten minutes Jujoka came out with a pile of sprockets and other parts.

“It’s not going to move an inch without these parts, sir.” he reported.

“FIRE IN THE HOLE!” Morris yelled form inside the bunker, he came pounding out, slamming the door closed behind him. We all ducked down a bit as the explosives went off. “That should keep the krauts from fixing that any time this week.” he said. Turns out, after pulling the gears off, they detonated two grenades on the rotational assembly, even if the Germans found the parts, or got new ones, the entire gun would have to be refitted in order to be used.

“Alright team,” I said “We have two AA guns to take out before tomorrow morning. If we don’t clear the skies the bombers can’t bomb. We gotta get this taken care of or our boys are going to get cut to pieces tomorrow. It’s a few miles inland from here to the nearest one. Anyone have any ideas?”

“Sir,” it was Private Olaf Lang. he was one of the 101st Airborne guys. “We could take the Kraut jeep over there.” He pointed off into the darkness. “I saw it on the way through the fence.”

I agreed and we were on our way. The three hour march took us about fifteen minutes by car. we stopped up the hill from the AA gun. It was on a trailer attached to a German troop transport. It was just starting to get light, we had to hurry If we were to take out both. This gun was guarded by 4 men. Two were sitting in the back of the troop transport, appearing asleep. the other two were looking around with rifles at their sides. A fixed radio sat on the tailgate of the transport.

“We have good cover here, lets take up firing positions and take them out.” I said.

“Sir, would it be wise to have two of us circle around about ninety degrees?” Tex asked. “If they run around the back side of the transport they will have cover, but if two of us circle over to the right, we can hit them there too.”

“Great idea, Tex. You and private Morris circle around. the rest of us will stay here. When you get there, get in position. We will fire when you fire. You guys will not be able to see into the truck from there, so you are taking out the guys on watch, we will hit the guys in the truck if they come up with weapons.”

And it went down just like that. They took out the two on watch, and before I could yell “Aufzugeben waffen,” they had jumped out of the truck and were raising rifles in the direction of Tex and Morris. All three of us opened fire at the same time. My rifle stung my shoulder as it rained down hot lead. The entire thing was over in less than 20 seconds.

We moved in and secured the AA gun, we also captured a Kraut radio and some maps. Rather than worry about destoying the gun, we simple left our jeep and stole the troop transport with AA gun in tow, we drove it to the next AA emplacement.

This second gun was in a partially collapsed barn that was missing a roof. This provided the troops inside with much greater cover. We decided to make a similar assault. Four of us covered the door while Tex circled around the right, the wall was a little low here and looking through the cracks in the wood he felt he could land a grenade right at the feet of the men at the gun.

And then he rolled a glitch.

His throw failed to clear the wall and instead landed at his feet, however. We had synchronised his grenade with our own, so while he blew a hole in the wall, we blew open the doors. There was nothing left to do at this point but unload rifles into the barn and hope we hit something. Despite our terrible plan it worked, a few of us did sustain injuries from gunfire.

Setting the book aside I glanced at the chrono display, wow, I have been sitting here for 4 hours? I put the book down and headed out to the garage; there were some repairs to the van I needed to get done. We can’t drive down to get groceries with a side panel full of holes, now can we?

PREVIOUS: Mission 06 – Profitable Catch
NEXT: Mission 07 – Big Trouble in Little China

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