Saturday, 9 July 2016

Terror From The Skies - the fifth bit

After debriefing the pilots he steeples his fingers under his chin and continues:

"Ripping, good stuff.  Now then, Parkhurst has requested you fly a reconnaissance sortie over the wreck of that damned Zep.  See what the Bosche are up to don't you know? One of you will have to fly a BE2c, camera mount is only set up for those meddlesome buggers I'm afraid.  Don't worry, the rest of you can fly those new beasts, glorious kites! Does the old ticker good to see them, hopefully we'll give the Hun a lead breakfast what! Take off is in 5 hours, best get some kip first."

As he finished talking to the pilots, he's handed a dispatch from one of his clerks. 

A look of despair crosses his face,

"The damned thing struck again after you engaged it, near Arras, this time it was a massacre, 150 men killed."

After the pilots prepare for the sortie, they can take off as normal, then head East across the trenches.

As they fly over the scarred countryside they can see the ant like soldiers in the trenches on the allied side, some wave and cheer.  As they cross over into no man's land, they can see the true carnage of this war.  Like a festering wound, no man's land carves its way across France in a bloody stalemate.  Soon, the German lines come into view, and the anti aircraft guns start firing.  To avoid the enemy fire is a piloting roll at -2, if they fail, the fragile aircraft is hit and takes 2d8 damage.

After passing the German lines, Mametz quickly comes into view, the small village is bordered by stunted and ravaged orchards, most of the buildings have been ravaged by Allied artillery.  Flying over the small village, just inside the boundary of encroaching woods, they can see the skeletal remains of a large zeppelin twisted and lying diagonally a burned out clearing in the thick woods.  With a notice roll at -2, they can see a small makeshift camp with tents and vehicles, and a few personnel crawling over the ruins of the airship.  There are perhaps a dozen people, all dressed in Imperial German Flying Core uniforms.  The woods around the site are fortified, with machine gun and mortar emplacements.

To take photographs of the site, the BE2c pilot needs to make a piloting roll, ideally in one pass, as soon as they succeed, roll notice.

If this is successful, they see a squadron of Fokkers Eindecker approaching from the East.  There are 4 monoplanes who immediately attack the spotter plane first.

Meet The Fokkers

The squadron is lead by an ace pilot, who is a wild card.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d6,
Notice d6, Piloting d6, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Taunt d6
Cha: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5;
Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Heroic
Edges: Rank (Officer)
Gear: Uniform, flying helmet, goggles,
wool scarf, Luger P08 (Range 12/24/48,
Damage 2d6–1) with 16 rounds.

The Fokkers have been explicitly ordered to shoot down the spotter plane to stop the intelligence returning to the allied line. 

Fokker E.III Monoplane

The Fokker Eindecker monoplane is the first aircraft with machine guns synchronized with the propeller, so the pilot can line up by eye instead of having to fire a pivot-mounted gun. During the fall and winter of 1915 this gives the Germans a huge advantage in the air. The plane was considered so important German pilots were forbidden to fly them over enemy territory for fear that one might be captured intact.

Acc/Top Speed: 10/64; Toughness: 6
(0); Crew: 1
Notes: Aircraft (Climb 1). Flight range
of 200 miles.
Armament: One MG08 machine gun
firing forward (250 rounds)

If they survive the dogfight and make their way back to Vert Galant the mechanics at the aerodrome can patch up and attend to any of the planes that were damaged.  Captain Herbert debriefs the pilots and confers with Parkhurst. 

As the battle weary pilots relax and unwind after the sortie, they see a goggled rider approach the airfield on a mud splattered Triumph Model H.  As he wipes the mud off his long coat and face the party realises that it's Father O'Connor lugging a long satchel.

The Exorcist

As the priest approaches, he roots around in his bag and removes a bottle of whisky and tosses it to the nearest pilot.

"Afternoon my son, it's a long ride from Paris and I've a powerful thirst, see if you can whistle us up some glasses."

As he enters the barracks Parkhurst greets him enthusiastically, the two shake hands and he introduces the Padre to Captain Herbert.  After a few minutes, Herbert ushers everyone into the pilot's briefing room.  The Captain's batman Prentiss enters the room and salutes the officers and hands the Captain a handful of still dripping photographs from the sortie. 

"Ah, excellent, most excellent, put a wiggle on them, don't you know, all right Prentiss, you're dismissed."

After he leaves, the Captain tacks them to the map board and Parkhurst and the Father join him in examining them.

Parkhurst starts, tapping the photographs with a pencil.

"It's as we thought Herbert, look here, all over the bloody thing like ants on a jam pot.  It's clear this is where this terror is being directed from."

Herbert bristles, and splutters,

"Easily fixed, artillery, bomb the buggers back to the stone age!"

O'Connor speaks for the first time.

"Actually ,I believe that's an extraordinarily bad idea"

Before Herbert can voice his obvious outrage, Parkhurst pats him on the arm and says:

"Calm down old chap, let's hear what he has to say, please tell us why that's a no go if you'd be so kind Padre."

O'Connor carries on:

"From my research into the chronicles of St George, this kind of mass phenomena is focused on a single malevolent individual, namely the Captain, Schmidt.  Using the focal point, the ritualistic runes and incantations in that device you boys found, the Germans have somehow managed to control and direct this haunting.  If we simply destroy the site, we could let the thing loose, to do goodness only knows what.  There'd be no stopping it.  

All my research points to Schmidt, he's the single entity controlling his crew and airship.  If we can destroy him, we exorcise the spirit, and this will be over.  There must be some relic, or tome at that site, that will offer us a way to destroy this thing and lay the spirits to rest.  

So, I believe the only way to approach this, I'm afraid, is a ground assault."

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