CRONOS: A Savage Worlds Campain

EP2: Jumping at Shadows

As the small company jet drifts over the eastern Alps, the momentary power outage elicits little notice or comment from Isabella‘s team. Her second in command, a former Army ranger and survival specialist named Ray Burnes, quietly peruses a tablet PC with an overview of the motocross arena just outside of Ferma, Italy. The first soldier to speak up is Leroy Gaines, a former Malawi intelligence operative who had saved Isabella’s life at least once, probably three or four times. After glancing out one aircraft’s tiny windows, he observes that the plane is losing altitude.

A quick examination of the cockpit reveals that the pilot is – quite impossibly – entirely absent, and the flight console is dead. The group’s equipment specialist, Lainie Benning, dives under the console and quickly divines that there is nothing they can do in a particularly timely fashion, so the group immediately prepares for an emergency jump. Burnes switches his overland display to locate a likely rendezvous point while Gaines passes out chutes, and the commando team is soon drifting over the Alps. As Isabella touches down, the plane explodes against a distant mountainside.

In a small sheriff’s station in eastern Texas, Sunny watches as the emergency lights come to life, but the entire building remains dead quiet. He quickly finds that his cell isn’t even secured, and he makes his way out of the holding block and into the office, where everyone has met a sudden and mysterious demise. Sunny quickly locates his immediate belongings and checks the impound yard for his motorcyle, which is absent. A view from the top of the building reveals that much of the town may have suffered the same fate as the law enforcement officers below. Absconding with some usable weaponry, Sunny sets off in a squad car to locate his bike and attendant belongings.

In Italy, Elsa and her sister find themselves trapped inside some sort of warehouse, hidden behind some crates, which are in the process of being moved around by eastern European toughs. The sisters make their way quietly toward the front of the building, remaining behind cover as much as possible, until they reach an entrance into a separate office. The room beyond has a single occupant, an old Russian gentleman sifting through some papers on one of the desks. Elsa decides to make a run for it, but the Russian calls her name before she makes it to the exit on the far side of the room. She hesitates for only a moment as he asks her to wait and allow him to explain what is happening, then she quickly disappears into the streets of the city with her sister in tow.

In Chicago, Ethan and Athena are lurking behind the diner when a police detective and a uniformed officer arrive in the parking area out front. The detective heads inside while the other officer, who bears an unbelievable likeness to Athena’s supposed brother Tyrone, runs the plates on other vehicles in the lot, including Ethan’s rental. Not wanting to discuss their situation with the cops, Ethan and Athena slip into the diner and attempt to hide in the walk-in freezer. Unfortunately, the murdered corpse of the diner’s owner is already in residence, and Athena immediately screams.

When Detective Redding drags Athena into the manager’s office to interview her regarding the manager’s death and the surveillance pictures found at the earlier scene of the shooting, Tyrone, who seems to be overjoyed to see his sister (much to Athena’s morbid discomfort), grills Ethan about his presence here, explaining that they weren’t supposed to meet for six months yet. Ethan tries desperately to make sense out of the situation, while Athena struggles not to say anything incriminating. Eventually, the police expel everyone from the diner and warn them not to leave town.

Sunny eventually reaches his bike, but notices the approach of military vehicles on the road leading toward town. He attempts to escape southward on a dirt road, pursued by helicopter, but flies off the road in the dark and lays over his motorcycle in the middle of a field. Before the helicopter can target him effectively with its spotlight, he grabs his gear and runs toward the wood.

Finally reaching the hotel, Elsa discovers her mother sitting quietly in her suite, in the company of a lone gunman. Before he can shoot her or her sister, Elsa drops him with a couple of well-placed punches and sneaks her family out of the hotel before any of the gunman’s friends can show up.

Shortly before dawn, Isabella reaches the rendezvous point in a small mountain village called Ufenstaf. Gathering her team, she moves them toward a scheduled airlift in another town to the east of their current position.

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EP1: Pilot
Nothing is quite what is seems...

As the afternoon sun drifts lazily across the New York City skyscrapers, Isabella Reyes watches the city flow beneath her as the helicopter zeroes in on ExCorp. The black monolithic structure stoops amidst its nearest neighbors, not unlike a wolf skulking amongst the sheep. Her single companion, a hulking security officer who looks like a mafia enforcer and dresses like the Men In Black, keeps a silent vigil as the aircraft alights atop the corporate headquarters of Excalibur Corporation, a company Isabella knows little about but can certainly guess at the character of. She’s known for some time that Manticorp‘s purse strings were managed by an outside entity; who it is doesn’t really matter too much.

Descending from the copter, Isabella is greeted by ExCorp security chief Victor Gedding, a polite and somewhat distinguished-looking fellow whose appearance is marred only by an old scar just above his left eye. Victor welcomes her to ExCorp and escorts her immediately to the office of her uncle, Galen Sherer, which is something of a surprise to Isabella. Galen dismisses Gedding and engages in a private conversation with his neice, in which he hints at his interest in her career and asks her to put together a small task force to manage a special assignment. He provides information on a Slovenian mafia organization calling themselves the Syndicate and their rival interest in a former ExCorp asset named Greta Schmidtz. The mission is an extraction. Schmidtz will be attending her daughter’s championship motocross event in Ferma, Italy, the day after tomorrow. Isabella is instructed to retrieve both Schmidtz and her daughter Elsa before Syndicate agents can get their hands on them.

The next morning, Sunny Clark emerges from a cheap motel room in eastern Texas and visits the diner across the street. It’s a quiet town, and Sunny’s Harley Davidson startles nearby birds and locals as it roars to life. At the diner, he orders a meal and settles in to try not to think about his father’s illness, which summoned him from his more solitary existence in the wilds west of the Everglades to make the long journey home to Corpus Christi. As he drinks his coffee and ponders the road ahead, an obnoxious local drunk arrives to harrass the waitress and start a fight. After a few blows, the drunkard pulls a knife, which Sunny answers with a .50 caliber Desert Eagle. The town sheriff arrives before the struggle can escalate any further, and he is forced to detain Sunny when he discovers a warrant for his arrest.

As afternoon arrives up north in Chicago, Athena Jones serves one of her regulars at Joe’s Diner, a young man who frequently drops in to flirt with the girl over a cup of coffee. When he disappears, however, he leaves his battered briefcase behind, complete with an address label containing a name, street address, and a short string of numbers. When she gets off, Athena googles the address, then heads toward the apartment in question in order to return the item.

Meanwhile, Ethan Clark arrives in the area searching for the girl, whom he swore to her older brother Tyrone before he died that he would watch over and keep her out of danger. At her home address, he chats briefly with an old black woman sitting outside the building next door, and the woman identifies Athena by her picture and tells him where to find her. At the diner, Ethan manages to convince one of her co-workers that she might be in trouble and checks out the back-office computer where she searched for the address. He then heads out in pursuit.

At the townhouse in question, Athena finds that buzzing in reveals a security panel. She enters the code and is admitted upstairs, where she walks into the open apartment in search of her wayward admirer. She finds the place empty and eerily familiar for some reason, and she finds a number of surveillance photos on the coffee table, all of them pictures of her. Right then, just as Ethan arrives in the street outside, a sniper from a building across the street shoots through the window and begins taking shots at her. As Ethan charges up the stairs, Athena drops to the floor and scrambles into the bedroom. The shots stop after several moments, but Ethan is careful to stay low as he makes his way across the exposed outer chamber and bursts into the bedroom. In a panic, Athena scrambles under the bed, but the presence of a cold body drives her immediately from hiding, at which point Ethan snatches her arm and virtually drags her from the apartment.

The shooting has stopped, but they are still crossing the street when police lights appear a few blocks away. Rather than retreating to one of the vehicles, Ethan drags Athena into the building that the shooter had been using, a seemingly abandoned structure with no apparent secondary exit except the fire escape from the second floor. As law enforcement arrives in the street outside, the unlikely duo sneak through the central corridor of the upper story, where Ethan soon spots the sniper rifle propped against a window, but no shooter in sight. He sends Athena down the fire escape first, at which point the girl takes advantage of the opportunity to escape and runs down the alley. Frustrated, but unable to pursue her with a bum leg, Ethan mingles with the crowd outside until he can manage to get his vehicle away from the scene without drawing attention. Somehow, in the interim, in full view of the police and forty or fifty bystanders, the shooter managed to insert his weapon into Ethan’s secured pickup. Furthermore, the ex-sniper recognizes the rifle as his very own training weapon from a few years back.

Meanwhile, in Ferma, Italy, Elsa returns to her hotel with her manager, Trevor, to find her younger sister waiting outside the door. After a brief flurry of hugs and sign language, Elsa quickly learns that her mother – affectionately referred to by Trevor as the “Iron Bitch of Berlin” – is waiting downstairs. In no mood to deal with the woman, Elsa sends Trevor as interference and she and Ila sneak out the back. The pair of them are followed, however, by a conspicuous-looking eastern European thug, whom they attempt to lose in the nearby city streets.

At Joe’s Diner in Chicago, Ethan manages to catch up with Athena and express his interest in helping her, at which point he also learns about the briefcase. As he attempts to hide the case for later retrieval, the stressed latch gives way and it pops open, spilling a handful of files and a strange glass disc out onto the pavement. The files include a handful of dossiers, one of which is his own and includes both classified information and events that have yet to occur. When he retrieves the disc, however, the nearby streetlights begin to flicker and go out and the sounds of the diner disappear for several seconds.

At that precise moment, in a small jail cell in eastern Texas, the same thing seems to happen around Sunny Clark, the sounds of the sheriff’s station coming to a sudden stop and the lights going out for several seconds. In Ferma, Elsa is distracted by the man behind her and walks right into – and abruptly through – a brick wall. From behind the wall, she and her sister somehow watch the man react to losing them, just before the walls becomes solid and impenetrable once again. And in the skies over Switzerland, Isabella’s plane loses power for several seconds, drifting quietly through the darkness until the power is restored.

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