Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

Romantic Horror in the 1960s

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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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jp1885 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:39 am

P clutches his case as the phials of growth solution he has secreted in there clink.

Scanning the station, he frowns.

“Is there anywhere we can land and then proceed on foot, without alerting anyone?” he ponders.
The men of ISZ, having some experience with Soviet military technology, ponder the question.

"They haven't detected us yet, I'd say, as long as we maintain radio silence. As far as sneaking onto the station goes, that's more a matter of luck than anything else."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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SunlessNick wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:36 pm
"Are you guys the whole crew, or is there anyone else?" Zara asks.
"Just us. Even counting all of you, we'd be outnumbered by, say, twenty to one if the Russkies showed up."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Mr. Handy wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:44 pm

"Perhaps we can paint the boat to make it invisible to radar," suggests Liz. "If we paint it with a layer of black paint on top of a layer of white paint, the radar beams should be absorbed by the black paint. Any remaining that get through will reflect off of the white paint and be absorbed again by the black layer, drastically reducing our radar signature."
"There's some of that stuff on ISZ, but somebody would have to sneak onto the place and hope the Reds don't notice."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Image

P ponders on this information, looking around at his surroundings.

“Hmm… I wonder…”

“Doctor North, if we find a suitable cliff face, we could bounce off a constant broad-spectrum radio blast to swamp the radar antenna. With luck the Soviets will interpret it as a malfunction and at worst we could use it as a distraction and sneak into ISZ from another direction. What say you, hmm?”
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"What's in the station?" Zara asks the crew. To the one who said ixnay, she adds, "I know you don't want to say, but we need to know if we're going in there."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"Capital idea, P!" says Liz. "Let's try it."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Spoiler:
Zara CHA = 13 + 3 for Beautiful (these are men who have been away from women for some time . . .) = 16d20
Responding warmly to Zara's most charming approach, the three men decide to put all their cards on the table.

"OK, if you were Red spies you would have contacted your buddies at Franz Josef Land already. Here's the deal.

"ISZ is in constant communication with a satellite that orbits over Soviet territory. Strictly hush-hush stuff. The station has records of the exact location of all Soviet missile bases. It's an ace up the sleeve of the West in the Cold War. If the data is still safe at ISZ, everything's OK. If whoever knocked us out and dragged us to Bear Island has it, it could get messy. They could sell it to the highest bidder for more cold cash than you can shake a stick at."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Spoiler:
I'll wing it with two science types working together. Let's see; Liz INT = 15 + 1 Scientific Knowledge = 16; P INT = 15 + 1 Scientific Knowledge + 3 Mechanical Genius/Good Improviser (one or the other, not both) = 19. Not much chance of failure, but let's say something bad happens if both of you fail.2d20
Two heads are better than one, they say, and it seems to be true. Working side by side, Liz and P are able to transmit a signal that bounces off an icy cliff on one of the many tiny islands of Franz Josef Land, and from there directly to the nearest radar antenna.

"Nice work," one of the men says. "That gives us some breathing room, but the Russkies will be rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to fix the thing. We better work fast. Who wants to stay with the boat while the others check out ISZ?"
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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“Otto will stay,” declares P, eager to get a good look at the secrets within ISZ. “He has infinite levels of patience, so won’t go wandering off into trouble.”
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"We can use the paint once we find it to mask the boat against radar," says Liz. "That will allow us to leave without detection when the time comes. Where in the station would it be stored? Can you chaps please draw a map of ISZ and let us know what's where?"
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"There ain't much to draw, lady. One big combination hut and storage area. Not that much room on a chunk of ice, you know.
You'll find everything you need right away."

This proves to be quite true. It's easy to find the paint, used to mark survey instruments when the team is doing their non-clandestine work. Unfortunately, all the computer tapes containing the satellite data are missing.

"That tears it. Somebody knew about those tapes, came here, knocked us out, and hauled us off to Bear Island. What I can't figure is why leave us alive."

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Maybe they needed us, for some reason, although I can't imagine what, or why nobody was around when we woke up."

"It has to have something to do with the wrecked weather station on Bear Island, and the big hairy brute that attacked us. I just can't figure out why."

They don't seem to know about the thing in the reactor dome, or they might mention that as well. Or the internecine battle between THRUSH and SHRIKE, or the disappearance of Jan.

"If only I had some clue where those tapes are now . . ."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"Is it still receiving from the satellite?" Zara asks. "If it was Russians that took your tapes, they'd probably trash your gear."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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“An excellent notion young lady. Transmitting to a satellite takes a lot of power, therefore we should be able to detect it,” P says. “Assuming the communication is two-way of course.”

“If not, then a thorough search for clues is in order.”
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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"If the equipment is still intact," says Liz, "we can use it to collect new data and analyse it ourselves. If it's not, perhaps we can repair it. Let's go take a look at it."
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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SunlessNick wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:13 am

"Is it still receiving from the satellite?" Zara asks. "If it was Russians that took your tapes, they'd probably trash your gear."
"You ain't kidding. This place is a mess."

The electronic equipment is a wreck, components shattered and scattered all about.
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Spoiler:
Let's try that working together thing again, with a bad result if both fail.2d20Kind of a half-success, so . . .
It takes a lot of fiddling around with the few pieces of equipment that are usable to come up with anything at all, but after a great deal of work, a jerry-rigged unit falls into place. It looks like it might be able to communicate with the satellite, and possibly with other places listening in on the same frequency as well.
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Image

P fiddles with various knobs and dials, tweaking here and there with a screwdriver.

“Right, let’s see if we can triangulate the position of the receiver. With any luck we can eavesdrop on whoever else is monitoring too.”
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Zara listens and watches whatever is received.
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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Liz nods and assists P with the necessary adjustments and also tries to get the equipment started recording incoming data.
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Re: Track 10: Sympathy for the Devil

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It's an eerie scene, as the bright Arctic summer light, doing little to relieve the bone-chilling cold, mixes with the high-pitched squealing of the jury-rigged equipment in an unnerving fashion. After fiddling with the components for a while in order to fine tune them, the investigators finally learn a few things.

1. The spy satellite has been recalibrated to transmit its findings to a location off the western coast of Africa, somewhere near the Gulf of Guinea. With what equipment is available, it's not possible to pinpoint the precise location.

2. The spy satellite's orbit has been altered into a circumpolar one that carries it over Bear Island, as well as parts of Europe, Africa, Antarctica, and a small part of western Alaska.

3. The investigators are able to access some of the data stored in the spy satellite, much of which is routine. There does seem to be some suggestion that there has been an unusual amount of electromagnetic energy produced in the Arctic Ocean, roughly on a north-south line leading from a point north of the Svalbard archipelago to the northernmost part of Norway.

As interesting as all this may be, what becomes of more immediate concern is the fact that all of this electronic activity has drawn the notice of others. To be precise, a Soviet helicopter approaches from the base on Franz Josef Land.
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