Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: March 18, 2006
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Gabriel Dodge, codename MALCOLM (Jason Gallagher); Joshua Frost, codename MORGAN (Jimmy Pope); Carson Kovac, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall)
Note: Hurricane Katrina timeline items were taken from the Hurricane Katrina Timeline article on Wikipedia.
My memory is muddy, what's this river that I'm in?
New Orleans is sinking, man, and I don't wanna swim.
- The Tragically Hip, "New Orleans is Sinking" (1989)
MAYA stepped through the transdimensional gate and found herself in her living room. She felt like screaming from a combination of the sanity-warping effects of the gate and the fact that she was waist deep in water.
Her home was flooded. Her ground floor living room was full of floating debris. The boarded windows had held, but the door couldn't withstand the pressure of surging water. Cushions, books, and pieces of broken wood floated around her.
As she looked about the room she realized that her garage must be flooded, too. "My car..." she cried in a high-pitched but quiet tone.
MALCOLM stood a couple of feet in front of her. MORGAN was off to her right, standing on her couch.
"You said you were remodelling," said MORGAN. "I didn't think you were putting a swimming pool in your living room, though."
"Shut up!" she cried. She picked up a floating pillow and threw it at MORGAN. It struck him square in the face with a splat.
"Do you know what kind of shots I'm going to need for this?" he said, as he wiped the water from his face. "I do!"
MAYA waded to the door of the garage, hyperventilating as she went. She tried to open the door, but it resisted. She shoved harder. It opened just wide enough to squeeze through. She could see her beloved Mini Cooper. It had been up on stands, but that hadn't protected it. The water was past the bottom of the doors. MAYA sobbed as she slowly pulled the door shut.
"I hope you have a plunger," said MALCOLM.
MORGAN slowly pushed the pillow toward MAYA. She grabbed it and threw it at MALCOLM, but he ducked and the pillow slapped into the wall behind him.
They sloshed to the stairs and climbed up. The upstairs was in much better condition than the downstairs. One of the windows had broken after a piece of protective plywood flew off, so there was some damage in her second bedroom due to wind and rain. For the most part the rooms were intact. She was glad to see that her newly remodelled bathroom was unhurt. If by some miracle they didn't need to tear down her house, she wouldn't have much to do to fix the upstairs.
The agents walked into her main bedroom. They looked out the window along Octavia Street. There were no streets, just houses, trees, lamp posts, and traffic signs jutting out of a grey-green lake. The water must have been about 4 or 5 feet deep, which put it perilously close to overtopping their hip waders. The sky was still steel grey and there was a strong wind. The hurricane had passed, though, and the torrential storm was replaced by light rain.
MAYA simply stared at the damaged remains of her city. She seemed transfixed on the waterway that was once Octavia Street.
MORGAN quietly asked her, "Do you have a fire ladder?" As a CDC investigator he feared the toxic cocktail that might be forming in the flood waters.
Quietly, in an even but distant voice, MAYA said, "I have some rope in the garage."
"Are you okay?"
Very slowly and quietly she said, "I want my car back. I want my house back. I want this water gone."
MAYA noticed motion in the upper level of the house two doors north on Octavia. One of her neighbors had survived the hurricane, at least. This was a fairly affluent area. Most of the houses were two story camelback shotgun homes, though there were a few larger two story Victorians, like MAYA's. Most of the people got out ahead of the hurricane. Any survivors that wouldn't — or, more likely, couldn't — escape the city would find some shelter on the second floors. MAYA wondered how much of the city had flooded. The city's high ground was to the south and east of her, but beyond that was the poorer section of eastern New Orleans. Eastern New Orleans was at least as far below sea level as her neighborhood in the north end of the Garden District. Few houses in eastern New Orleans were two stories in height.
MALCOLM found a long, thick orange extension cord, the kind typically used with power tools. MAYA had been using it with a small palm sander in the remodelling of her bathroom. MALCOLM unplugged it and carried it into the bedroom. This would save them having to search for a rope in the submerged garage.
MAYA tied knots in the electric cord. When she was done, they tied one end to her bed and another end to the inflatable raft.
MORGAN carried the raft to the window. He stuck it outside and pulled the cord on the canister. The raft rapidly inflated. He let go of the raft and the agents slowly lowered it to the water.
MALCOLM volunteered to climb down first. He held onto the cord and swung out the window. He started to lose his grip. He hung precariously for a few seconds before bracing a leg against the house. His hand slipped, and he fell. Instead of landing in the water, he fell squarely into the raft. It bounced, but it did not burst. He looked up, grinned, and yelled, "I'm in the boat! Come on down."
MALCOLM untied the cord. MORGAN hauled up the cord. He and MAYA tied equipment to it while MALCOLM grabbed hold of a cable television cable on the side of the house to keep the raft from drifting away. In four passes they had all of their gear in the raft. MALCOLM tied the cord to the raft again.
The next one down the cord was MAYA. After she swung out of the window she started to lose her grip. Her hands slipped to the first knot. She hung in mid air for a moment before she stabilized herself against the house. She climbed into the boat without incident. MORGAN had no trouble following her down the extension cord.
MORGAN untied the boat while MALCOLM pulled out the trolling motor. He looked it over, and slipped the propeller into the water. He turned it on, played around with the throttle, and in little time at all the one member of the team who lived in a desert was propelling their boat northward on what used to be Octavia Street.
They coasted the raft over to the house with the neighbor. "Hey!" yelled the agents, in unison.
The neighbor, Jim Getty, stuck his head out the window. "Hey!" he yelled back.
"What is your situation?" asked MALCOLM.
"My situation? My house is flooded!"
"Yeah, yeah," cried MAYA.
"Do you have food and water?" asked MORGAN.
"Some snacks and stuff."
"Is anyone injured?" added MORGAN.
"Are you the only one there?" inquired MAYA.
"Yes, I'm the only one here."
"Do you have any pets?" added MAYA.
Getty scratched his head. "Don't know where ma' dog is."
There was little the agents could do for the neighbor. "We will send help!" yelled MALCOLM. He turned the boat southward.
They decided to head to the Louisiana Superdome. As far as they knew, that was the only large congregation of people in the city, seeing as how it was a "shelter of last resort". If Majestic-12 was doing experiments that seemed to be as good a place as any to start looking for them. They were near the corner of Fountainbleau Drive and Octavia Street, with the Superdome southeast of them. MALCOLM sailed south and turned east onto Fountainbleau. He followed Fountainbleau until it came to South Broad Street. They angled northeast along S. Broad St.
The water's depth varied along this road. In some places it was only two feet deep and they had to get out and pull the boat along the water. In other areas it was almost five feet deep. There was a current in the water. Water was still flooding into the city; the water level was rising.
The surreal tableau of a submerged city shocked MAYA more than the male agents. Fountainbleau was a road she had taken many times. Even still, the devastation was not lost on MALCOLM or MORGAN. Several homes sustained major damage from flying debris. Torn up trees and foliage floated beside pieces of plywood and unidentified bits of lumber. They saw their first corpse at the corner of S. Broad St. and General Pershing St. They saw another face down beside a house near Washington Ave. and a third between 3rd St. and Martin Luthur King Blvd. This part of the city was not wholly abandoned, either. Several people yelled and waved at them as they boated by. None of them called for help, nor seemed to expect the boat to pick them up. It was still early. Surely someone would come by for them soon.
They continued along S. Broad St. until they came to Earhart Boulevard. Earhart paralleled Interstate 10 southeast into downtown New Orleans. Earhart and I-10 parted ways at the basketweave where I-10 headed north and the Pontchartrain Expressway continued southeast. They would find the Superdome on the eastern side of the basketweave.
The agents got out of the boat and dragged it along. About 300 yards from the Superdome the investigators began carrying it.
Before them was the main temple to Louisiana football: the Superdome. It was surrounded by water. The white covering on the stadium's roof — which had been tested for winds up to 135 mph — was gone, shredded by Katrina. The dome looked like the crown of a long dead corpse whose skin had been peeled off to reveal an aged, battered skull.
People were milling about outside one of the entrances, not willing to venture too far from the shelter but in desperate need of fresh air. Small groups of drenched survivors were marching to the stadium. The agents made a point of staying away from these survivors.
They headed for the gate off Girod Street. A crowd of people stood around the gate, but there were also several members of the Louisiana National Guard. Two Guardsmen walked toward them as they carried the boat up the steps to the gate.
MORGAN called out, "Who's in charge here?" He presented his identification and introduced himself as Dr. Joshua Frost. He said he was there to coordinate the anti-disease effort. He asked, again, who was in charge.
Apparently no one was really in charge. The relief effort was being conducted on an ad hoc basis. There were some doctors taking care of people and there were some EMTs and other emergency personnel, as well as a small contingent of the National Guard. The nearest soldier, Private Price, said he saw at least one official from FEMA. Civil control of the city was still under the authority of the mayor and the police chief, who were in some downtown hotel.
MORGAN asked the Guardsmen to watch their boat, realizing full well that there may not be a boat when they return. They pulled their gear out of the boat. MALCOLM took his digital SLR camera and slung it over his neck. He handed the video camera to MAYA. They dragged the boat onto the cement and sat the trolling motor inside it. They walked up to the gate where additional Guardsmen gave their credentials a cursory glance. They entered the stadium.
The power was out all over the city, which meant that the air conditioning hadn't been working for several hours. What little air flow there was came courtesy of the open gates and the new hole in the roof. The first thing the agents noticed was the smell. The air was stale with the odor of thousands of people who had been sitting in the stadium for several hours without power. The smell was particularly bad near the restrooms. Without power the toilets could not flush. MORGAN gave them Carmex lip balm to put on their upper lip. It would cut the smell.
People sat in the stands and tried to stay away from the hole in the roof. The ground level concourse was filled with people sitting on the floor or on folding chairs they had brought from home. Thousands of voices conversing at once made the concourse sound like a beehive. The only illumination, except for the pale light leaking through the hole in the roof and the glass doors at the gates, came from emergency lighting running on battery power.
An area near the Girod Street entrance was set up as a makeshift clinic. There were four young and three elderly patients. Dehydration, abrasions, and missed prescription drugs seemed to be the most common ailments.
MORGAN walked up to an EMT. He introduced himself and asked where the doctors were. The EMT answered that the doctors were all over the Superdome. First aid stations were set up on at least three different levels. The critical patients were being cared for at section 105. MORGAN thanked the EMT and the agents walked over to section 105.
They quickly found the first aid station. There were more patients here — about a dozen — and their ailments were more serious than at the previous station. There were four elderly patients on gurneys with IVs in their arms. There were two patients with broken arms, and a worried looking woman who was at least eight months pregnant. The medical personnel wore street clothes, but they also had identification on necklaces and clipped to pockets. Two doctors sat off to the side, taking a momentary rest and sipping on bottled water.
MORGAN looked over the IDs of the two doctors, a man and a woman. Neither was Dr. Musgrave or Dr. Jorgansen, the names found on the Majestic-12 document. Their name tags said they were Dr. Amie Mineau and Dr. William Tesh.
The doctors looked up and stared at the hip wader wearing Delta Green agents. MORGAN asked which one of them was in charge. Dr. Mineau stood up and said, "I guess that would be me."
MORGAN introduced himself as Dr. Frost with the CDC and said he was there to help contain the spread of infectious diseases. Dr. Mineau's eyes grew wider and she smiled. "You just got in?" she asked. MORGAN nodded. "Thank God! The rescue efforts are starting in vain, now, are they?
"Ah... we managed to get in on a private helicopter," lied MORGAN. "We came in early, to get started before the rest of the operation got here."
He asked Dr. Mineau what kind of medical staff they had. As she answered, MAYA and MALCOLM checked the IDs of nearby medical personnel. None of them were named Musgrave or Jorgansen. Dr. Mineau said that there were a few doctors, but most of the medical personnel were EMTs and similar first responders who had volunteered to stay behind in the Superdome. There were also volunteers from the refugee population.
"It's a hodge podge," said Dr. Mineau. "We don't have a centralized facility. We have several segregated areas. We go back and forth between the areas when we need supplies. Things are getting hairy, though. We're running low on water and meds."
Mineau told them that the facilities were numbered based on the stadium's seating plan. Along with the facility here at seating section 105, there were facilities at sections 120, 150, 211, 232, 251, 305, and 330. Section 120 was the section the agents first visited. Section 150 was where they were keeping people with infectious diseases, segregating them from the rest of the population. The other sections were essentially first aid stations and volunteer assembly points.
MORGAN thanked Mineau. He said he would be in touch. The agents walked down the concourse, heading clockwise toward section 150. Their hip waders squeaked as they walked along the concrete. The residents of the Superdome, who were mostly African-American, watched the agents pass with a mixture of curiosity and amusement. Young kids marched along with them, asking probing questions, like, "Are you goin' fishin'?" and "Are you in the army?" The kids dispersed by the time they got to the infectious disease area at section 150.
A short woman of Indian or Middle Eastern descent, in her mid thirties, finished talking to a patient and then answered questions from a couple of volunteers. She was in jeans and a casual button-down shirt, rolled up at the sleeves. She had a badge clipped to her pocket and a stethoscope around her neck. Her badge said, "Dr. Chandra Haselden".
MORGAN introduced himself. Dr. Haselden shook his hand. She was a general practitioner who volunteered to help when the mandatory evacuation order was given. MORGAN asked her for a status update. She had ten cases. The most serious case was a middle-aged woman with what Dr. Haselden believed was West Nile disease. Most of the others were coughing or sneezing. MORGAN asked if she had antibiotics. Haselden said that her supplies were dwindling. She had one person who needed something stronger than what she had on hand. The patient was a man in his early forties. He had a bad cough and a deep cut that had been infected for a couple of days. He should have seen a doctor before this. Dr. Haselden supposed he didn't have any health insurance. The gentleman was one of the many working poor in the city who didn't qualify for Medicaid but couldn't afford what little health insurance his employer provided. He couldn't afford health insurance; evacuating the city had been financially out of the question. At least now he was receiving medical treatment.
Agent MORGAN pulled a spare atomizer from his manpurse. He filled it with leucopararosaniline and took Dr. Haselden aside. He told her that since 9/11 there was a worry that terrorists might detonate a biological weapon during a natural disaster. He handed her the atomizer. He said that the fluid would detect the presence of such biological contaminants. MORGAN told her to contact him or one of his people — indicating MALCOLM and MAYA — if anyone's skin turns purple with the fluid. This scenario scared the doctor. She agreed to diligently test people who came through her station and to report anyone with a purple tint.
She asked what was in the atomizer. MORGAN said it was classified.
"It's harmless," said MAYA, "unless you are an alien life form." The agents and the doctor laughed a little, although for very different reasons.
They asked Dr. Haselden if she had met anyone from the Department of Health and Hospitals, FEMA, or the Department of Homeland Security. She said she met a harried FEMA manager, but other than that it was mostly local medical personnel.
They thanked her and left.
They found a ramp up to the 200 level, and walked to section 232. A half a dozen civilians stood around listening to a male doctor. The doctor was telling them to check on people and to look for signs of dehydration. Taped to the wall behind him was a handwritten sign that said, "Volunteers". He gave the volunteers a pep talk, and then sent them out into the general population. The doctor's identity badge said he was Steven Slone from the LSU Medical Center in Baton Rouge. MAYA noticed he was in his early-to-mid thirties, cute and not wearing a wedding band. His shoes were Armani. He was rich and socially conscious.
MORGAN introduced himself and the other agents to Slone. He repeated their cover story and asked Slone for an update. Slone was in charge of a group of volunteers. He had sent them off to look for people in distress who might not be able to make it to an aid station. For safety sake they were to travel in groups of two or more. This wasn't due to any problems, as the crowds were fairly well behaved so far. That couldn't last, not with the air conditioning out. They already had a couple of violent incidents due to intoxication.
Slone confessed at being worried that the evacuation was taking too long. He expected people to be moved from the stadium soon after the storm passed. Now there was a rumor that the entire city was flooded!
"That's not entirely accurate," said MALCOLM. "This whole area is filling up and there are sections of the city that are flooded. There are also sections of the city that are not flooded yet."
"Not that we've seen any yet," said MAYA. "My car...!" she whimpered.
"Have you had any contact with the government?" asked MORGAN.
"No, I haven't had any contact with the goddamned government!"
"Our information says they should be here soon," said MALCOLM.
"I sure hope so," replied Dr. Slone. "We're running out of supplies."
MALCOLM took some photos of the area, making sure to photograph Slone, too. MAYA made sure she was photographed standing beside Slone in a couple of those pictures.
They told Slone they would be back. They thanked him and left section 232 for section 251.
Section 251 was a first aid area. There were two workers present when they walked up in their squeaking hip waders. As they approached, both workers looked up at them. "Can I help you?" asked the taller of the two men. His name tag said he was Dr. Clayton Gerrity. The other's tag said he was Dr. Shawn Perrin.
MORGAN repeated the cover story. Gerrity and Perrin explained that they had treated some scrapes and twisted ankles. They hadn't seen anything too severe.
Unless these guys were very good actors, it was unlikely that they were part of any Majestic-12 experiments. In fact, the agents didn't even know if Majestic-12 was operating in the Superdome. They agents asked the doctors to let them know if they saw anyone from the government. They headed for another section.