The BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.
All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles.
Operation SECOND LOOK originally opened up with an action scene where the player characters accompany the Italian police to intercept a suspected drug shipment. It all goes poorly, but interrogating the smugglers leads into the drug-deal subplot in Beirut. For reasons of space, this scene was cut and the leads moved to a more conventional briefing – however, if you want to give players a taste of day-to-day Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs activities, give run this scene before the initial briefing scene, When The Boat Comes In.
Torre San Giovanni is a small fishing village in the heel of Italy, about thirty miles south of the city of Lecce. It’s a sleepy, picturesque little place, named for the 16thcentury tower that watches over the harbor. Fishing and olive groves make up most of the local economy.
According to information from a BNDD informant in Turkey, the Unione Corse intend to bring a shipment of morphine base ashore here tonight. The smugglers are using a small fishing boat, one of dozens that work along the shore here. The informant claims the Unione Corse will transfer the morphine from a large freighter to the fishing boat at sea, and then bring it ashore, where it’ll be collected by a Unione Corse courier to bring it to Marseille.
The BNDD plan is to let the transfer go ahead, and wait until the fishing boat gets to the shore, in the hopes of intercepting both the fishermen and the courier. There’s an Italian coast guard ship standing by to stop the freighter at sea.
The players get to run the shore-side ambush. They don’t know who the courier is – presumably, it’ll be a truck or other vehicle to carry the packages of morphine base. They don’t know which fishing boat it is – there are a dozen boats coming in that evening. And they need to keep undercover until the jaws of the trap close, to ensure any watchers in the town don’t signal a warning to the fishing boat. In addition to the Agents, they’ve got a dozen eager local policeofficers at their disposal.
Let the players come up with whatever ambush plan they wish.
The night wears on. The heat of the day fades as the waters of the Ionian sea lap on the beach. Most of the fishing boats won’t come back until dawn, and as the sky begins to lighten in the east, a few locals come down to the docks to wait for the returning boats and help landing the cache. If the Agents aren’t carefully hidden, call for a Conceal or Disguise test (Difficulty 4) from the most obviously suspicious Agent; if the test fails, there’s some whispering and muttering from the workers assembled on the shore as they realise something’s amiss.
One by one, the boats come in.
- 1-point Notice spend: A light flashes out at sea – and a moment later, there’s an answering flash from the hills above the town.
Then, a car – a new one, big and black – comes down the road at speed and pulls up at the pier as the fishing boat Pierro approaches.
If the Agents hold back, the transfer goes ahead in the most obvious fashion ever – two bales of contraband get hauled out of the cabin of the Pierro and loaded into the trunk of the car. One of the men from the car opens one bale and hands out free packets of cigarettes to everyone standing around the dock as a bribe to stay quiet.
There are two men in the car, and another four on board Pierro. They’re all small-time cigarette smugglers, bringing in cheap Turkish cigarettes to avoid import duty (they also deal in small amounts of heroin). If the Agents have a solid plan for the ambush, it all goes smoothly; otherwise, it gets messy. The pair in the car (Paulo Sciarra and Vito Adami) attempt to drive off, while the four on the boat either try to flee on foot across the beach, or cast off from the pier and return to sea. The initial assumption of the criminals is that they’ve been ambushed by a rival gang; if the players flash badges and shout that they’re cops – and spend a point of Intimidation, Languages or Agency– they can convince the criminals not to fight back. Otherwise, throw in foot or car chases and/or brawls to taste.
If Sciarra and Adami manage to escape in their car, then move the core clue about the Beirut deal to the fishermen.
At first, it all looks like a debacle driven by bad information – dozens of cops, the Guardia de Finanza and the American BNDD, all for what? A few hundred packets of cigarettes? The Unione Corse must be laughing at them. There’s lots of shouting, finger-pointing, and arguments over who is to blame for this farce. The player characters can get involved (making a show of support for the BNDD is worth a 2-point Bureaucracy pool of favours), or keep their heads down and keep working.
- A thorough search of the fishing boat Pierro discovers (Conceal test, Difficulty 4) a hidden compartment in the bilges. There’s a scrap of plastic wrap snagged on a loose screw, and Chemistry or Pharmacy discovers it tests positive for morphine base – there’s no heroin on the boat now.
- There’s a small amount of heroin in the car, enough to charge Sciarra and Adami as dealers (they supply heroin to tourists in Lecce and Brindisi).
- The freighter is clean, although some of the crew admit under questioning that they smuggled cigarettes out of Turkey and threw them down to the Pierro when it passed nearby.
Questioning the Prisoners
Interrogation of the fishermendiscovers the following:
- They’re not part of any organized crime – just a few local crooks.
- They admit that they’ve helped bring heroin ashore before, but didn’t ask any questions.
- 1-point Interrogation spend(or using the discovery of the smuggling compartment as a leveraged clue): When they brought heroin ashore, it was from a different freighter, the SS Invicta.
- Traffic Analysisand some research: The SS Invicta is at sea; she departed Marseille a few days ago and is en route to Beirut with a cargo of machine parts.
- A 1-point spend of Reassurance, Streetwise or Negotiation gets the name of a friend of one of the fisherman, a pal who lives in Beirut and knows the city’s underworld – Ghasif Saad. Ghasif is a free network contact (see Local Contacts,p. XX)
Interrogation of Sciarra and Adami yields more useful information:
- They’re small-time heroin dealers.
- They’ve heard that there’s a war brewing within the Unione Corse, a struggle to see who becomes caïd (godfather) of the Corsican mafia.
- A 1-point Streetwise spend identifies some possible contenders – the Francesci clan, the Guerinis, the Venturis – but the rules of omertáwithin the Unione Corse are strong, and those inside the organisation don’t speak to those outside. It’s entirely possible that such a war has been going on for years.
- Core clue: They’ve also heard that there’s a big heroin deal coming down. It’s happening in Beirut. They don’t know any more.
- HUMINT: They’re trying to pass off rumour and scuttlebutt as genuine inside information; this alleged big deal in Beirut might be nothing.