Delta Green M Cell Campaign (2003 – 2010)

Winds of Change, Session 7

Previous Session: Winds of Change, session 6

Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: September 3, 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 the Shreveport Times web site (no longer available), from Salon's Katrina Timeline article, and from Wikipedia's Katrina Timeline article.

"Yer not the ocean
I'm standing on my toes
Yer not the ocean
You're not even close
Yer not the ocean
You're up to my chin
Yer not the ocean
You're not coming in"
   - The Tragically Hip, "Yer Not The Ocean" (2006)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005, 6:10 a.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Atlanta, Georgia

The Delta Green agents arrived back in Agent MORGAN's garage in an affluent Atlanta suburb. They moved from the garage into the house. MALCOLM said, "I demand coffee and aspirin. Lots and lots of aspirin." They stood around the kitchen table. "Some of us have been bludgeoned and shot," added MALCOLM as MORGAN handed him the aspirin.

The agents showered and removed their Deadlands attire. MORGAN dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He gave the other two agents a set of scrubs each to wear. The hospital scrubs were a little tight on MALCOLM and a bit loose on MAYA, but they would do. Fortunately MAYA and MALCOLM had an extra set of clean, dry sneakers.

MAYA and MALCOLM had lost their fake ID badges in the Dreamlands. Their wallets, drivers license, and credit cards remained behind at MORGAN's place. MORGAN, however, had lost all of his identification. Their first course of business was to go the the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a replacement driver's license. They got into MORGAN's car, went for breakfast, and then drove to the DMV. MORGAN was first in line. The other two agents drove to Wal-Mart for additional supplies (9mm ammunition, a new rubber raft, a patch kit, duct tape, a bicycle pump, flashlights, first aid supplies, and — at MORGAN's request — a new manpurse). MORGAN had his replacement license shortly after 9:30 a.m. MAYA and MALCOLM picked him up and drove him to the CDC building. It was about 11:00 a.m. by the time MORGAN had replaced his CDC identification.

ID in hand, the agents drove to Ed's Pawn Shop. Ed's had a reasonable variety of 9mm pistols to choose from. The agents each bought a gun from a curious Ed Joseph, the owner of the pawn shop, who threw in a cleaning kit for free.

As it was almost noon, they ate a quick fast-food lunch, then drove back to MORGAN's place, grabbed their gear, and headed into the garage. MORGAN refilled his manpurse, replacing the power crystal he traded to Shuggob for the glund fluid while in the Dreamlands. Each agent, in turn, intoned "minisub" while touching the gate.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005, 11:35 a.m. CDT

Memorial Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Once again, their senses were assailed by the reek of the Memorial Medical Center in flooded New Orleans. The supply closet was stifling and completely dark. MALCOLM flicked on a flashlight while MORGAN listened at the door. He heard a couple of people talking. Even though the hospital had shut off the lights to the nonessential floors, the backup generators were running out of fuel. It wouldn't be long before the power went out. One of the people said they were concerned about the "DNR" patients on the seventh floor.

After a few moments the people walked away. MORGAN relayed the conversation to the agents. They decided to check out the seventh floor. The agents stashed the boat and the other extraneous supplies. MALCOLM found a lab coat to wear over his ill-fitting scrubs. They made sure their weapons were loaded, took plenty of extra ammunition, and slipped out of the room. The immediate hallway was empty, though there were people down the corridor in either direction. No one saw them leave the supply closet. They headed for a nearby stairwell.

The seventh floor was a palliative care ward. A few lights were on, and a couple of big fans blew. Most of the handful of patients were elderly, in the last stages of life. MORGAN walked from room to room, checking their charts. Over half of them were DNR: Do Not Resuscitate. There was nothing surprising in their charts. They were simply old and sick.

A nurse walked by as the agents checked the charts of a ninety year old black man. The nurse asked if she could help. MORGAN smiled and waved his newly acquired CDC badge. He told her that he was only checking for "cross contamination".

They struck up a conversation with the nurse. MORGAN asked if any of their patients had gone missing. The nurse raised an eyebrow as she told them that she didn't know of any missing patients, but that may have been because she spends most of her time on this floor. None of the patients here were in any shape to move by themselves. She suggested that they talk to Nurse Bussey on the first floor.

The agents thanked the nurse, then headed back down the stairs.

Nurse Bussey, a head nurse, was surprised — but relieved — to see a federal presence in the form of the CDC. MORGAN said that a body was found nearby wearing what could have been a hospital gown. He asked her if any of their patients were missing. She asked for a description of the person. MORGAN said that he didn't have a description, they were just told about the body.

To the nurse this seemed like more evidence of incompetence at higher levels. She was trying to keep people from dying, and here were three CDC people asking about a dead person. Her temper got the better of her and she started to berate them for not being around sooner during the crisis. She said, "When are we going to be evacuated? When are we going to get food and water, and supplies? You're busy worrying about this dead person, what about the living?"

MAYA tried to soothe the nurse. She explained that they were only a small unit, doing what little they could to help. The nurse stared at MAYA, shrugged, and stepped away for a moment. She came back with a clipboard. A Mr. Giovanni was reported missing. He had come into the hospital a couple of days prior to the storm with chest pains. After the storm hit he was moved to the fifth floor sleeping disorder unit; he had stabilized and they needed to to free up a bed in ICU for more critical patients. Now he was nowhere to be found.

MORGAN asked to see Mr. Giovanni's chart. The nurse didn't have it, it was probably still up on the fifth floor. He asked her if they could go up there and see it. She put down the clipboard, shrugged, and said, "Be my guest."

Before they left, MORGAN asked, "Can we get you anything? Is there anything you need?"

She looked at him for a second, then said, "We need food, we need water, we need gas, we need medicine, we need people to get out of here!"

MORGAN smiled. "We'll make it our top priority."

"Yeah, yeah. I've heard that before."

MORGAN squinted. "Where did you hear that before?"

"From a FEMA official," answered Nurse Bussey.

"What FEMA official?"

She thought for a moment. "Gerald something... Gerald Rosemarin."

"Have you ever heard of Doctors Jorgansen or Musgrave?" he asked.


The agents thanked her, and then walked back to the stairs.

The two male agents were sweating and breathing heavily by the time they got to the fifth floor. MAYA, the agent most adverse to physical exertion, was fine. They opened the stairwell door. In front of them sat a janitor on a chair, sleeping. Daylight streamed out of the open patient rooms as the curtains had all been drawn back to let in some light. Fortunately it was overcast, and it looked like it was raining outside, so the light was not heating the floor. The floor's central core was still dark, as the light barely penetrated that far. As they avoided a crash cart and walked past a room, a nurse tending to a patient looked up and smiled.

The sleep disorder unit was in the centre of the floor. It had a separate entrance, and was otherwise completely cordoned off from the rest of the floor. Several emergency lights did a passable job of illuminating the unit. A couple of desks with computer monitors marked a reception area. The rest of the unit consisted of sleep rooms and monitoring stations.

With MORGAN leading, the agents started inspecting the patients in the sleep disorder unit. The first couple of patients didn't seem too out of the ordinary, but the third raised questions. According to the chart, the patient suffered from a bad drug interaction. Nevertheless, the patient was sleeping soundly. In fact, all the patients on this floor were sleeping soundly. MALCOLM and MAYA went off to investigate while MORGAN continued to check patients. The other two agents came back. MALCOLM found that none of the beds on the floor were empty. If they were expecting Mr. Giovanni to return, they hadn't saved a space for him. MAYA handed MORGAN something she had found in a trash can in one of the rooms. It was the chart for one Lonnie Giovanni.

Before MORGAN could look at the chart, two women entered the room. The older woman was Dr. Cutler, a resident at the hospital. The younger was Dr. Dunmore. Dr. Cutler asked them what they were doing. MORGAN went into his CDC spiel about them looking for a possible disease outbreak. Dr. Cutler didn't care. She took the patient's chart from MORGAN and ordered them out of her patient's room. Nothing MORGAN said, be it reason or threats, could convince the doctor that they had a right to look at her patient's chart. They left the room, with MORGAN asking a final time for the charts of her patients, just so that they can rule out the (fictitious) contagion coming from this floor.

"I'll get right on that!" said the doctor, as she closed the patient's door behind the Delta Green agents.

They went back to the stairwell. The janitor was still sleeping. On a hunch MALCOLM looked over the janitor to see if he was armed. MALCOLM couldn't tell. They went into the stairwell and descended to the landing between the fifth and fourth floors. They agreed that something strange was going on in the sleep disorder unit. Dr. Cutler seemed overly protective of her patients, and all of them were sound asleep. "And her accent slipped," said MALCOLM. "Did you catch that?" The others shook their heads. "For a second, she didn't sound like you," he said to MAYA. "She sounded more like me."

"What, she's an astronomer?" asked MAYA.

"She's probably a deep planetary astronomer, specializing in Kuiper belt objects," said MALCOLM, rolling his eyes. "You can't trust those people! Did you hear what they're trying to do with Pluto?" He continued with his explanation. "She sounded more northwestern, or northeastern, or midatlantic or something!"

"But," explained MAYA, "there are plenty of people here who weren't born around here."

"She's faking it, though!"

MORGAN tapped MALCOLM on the shoulder. "I'm not from Atlanta," he said, letting his Arkansas accent slip out.

"Yeah, but are you trying to hide that?"

"No!" said MALCOLM. "I don't want to be from Atlanta!"

"Yeah, well she's trying to pretend to be from New Orleans."

Suspecting something was afoot, they came up with a plan. They would go back up to the fifth floor and tell Dr. Cutler that something was found in the body that they discovered. They would try to convince her to give them the information they needed. In fact, they doubted she would comply. What they really hoped to do was tip Majestic-12's hand — if, as MALCOLM suspected, they were part of Majestic-12 — and get them to do something "Majestic-12-ish".

They climbed back up to the fifth floor. They carefully opened the door. MAYA noticed that the sleeping janitor had a gun in his waist band. She couldn't see the gun, but she could see the bulge. They closed the door. MORGAN reached into his manpurse and touched the crystal. MAYA opened the door slightly, and MORGAN stared at the janitor. He began invoking the Bloat spell. As he concentrated, preparing the janitor for the spell, he felt energy pulse out of his body. There was no corresponding pulse of energy entering his body from the crystal. The crystal was empty.

MORGAN changed intonations. The janitor started to swell with water. Realizing something was wrong, the janitor shot upright and pulled out his gun. He aimed it at the door to the stairwell and fired. Two shots slammed into, and through, the door. A third struck MAYA in the arm, knocking her down. The janitor could no longer shoot because his finger filled the trigger guard. With incredible strength, the guard ripped off the guard and continued firing. Four more shots rang out, one of which hit MORGAN in the thigh. MORGAN let out a yell and fell back, but he continued to bloat the janitor. As the janitor started to lurch toward them, he turned blue. His windpipe had shut. The janitor's eyes rolled upward, and he collapsed.

They checked each other's wounds. Neither MAYA nor MORGAN were seriously injured; the bullets had simply creased their flesh. The stepped into the corridor, guns drawn. The janitor wasn't breathing. They left him there and treaded toward the entrance to the sleep disorder unit. MORGAN caught sight of the crash cart. He grabbed the cart and pushed it in ahead of him. MAYA followed, with MALCOLM trailing. They walked through the doorway. MALCOLM partially closed the door and peered out the crack, watching for anyone sneaking up behind them.

MAYA suggested that she stay behind and watch their back. MALCOLM said, "No, no, you go with MORGAN!"

"Great," said MAYA. "At least if I'm killed I'll be off the M-team!"

The reception area was empty. There was no movement. The agents stood still, listening. Only MALCOLM heard something. He switched places with MAYA. She heard it too. It was a murmuring. She looked up. They were near an air vent. They listened again, but the sound died away.

MORGAN moved further into the unit, walking up to the door of the first sleep room, the room where they had left Dr. Cutler. He put his ear to the door but didn't hear anything.

MORGAN had an idea. He whispered his idea to MALCOLM. MALCOLM nodded. The engineer/astronomer walked to the crash cart. MAYA looked on with an arched eyebrow. The defibrillator was the type where the pads are stuck to the patient and the charge was sent by pushing a button on the main unit. The attendant did not have to hold paddles to the patient's chest. MALCOLM pulled out a pocket knife and expertly stripped the wires off the defibrillator pads. He quietly wired the defibrillator to the handle of the door. He stepped back and MORGAN charged the defibrillator.

MALCOLM said to MORGAN in a stage whisper, "Go down the hall and check out those rooms." He then deliberately kicked his foot against a table. He and MALCOLM ducked down behind a couple of reception area chairs. MORGAN reached up to the discharge button.

MAYA was at the door. She heard something coming down the hall. Something was moving slowly toward the hallway leading to the sleep disorder unit. A small figure crawled around the corner. It was a baby.

MAYA quickly shut the door, crying out, "Nooooo!" There was no way a normal baby would be crawling along the floor of a hospital under normal conditions, let alone in this hurricane ravaged city. MAYA closed the door, tight.

Someone on the other side of the sleep room door touched the handle. The handle moved slightly. MORGAN slammed his hand down on the discharge button. The door handle sparked and sizzled. They heard a thump on the other side of the door.

MALCOLM turned off the unit. MORGAN rushed into the room. MALCOLM followed.

MAYA slowly backed away from the door to the sleep disorder unit, her gun pointed at the door.

MORGAN shoved open the door to the room, pushing aside the prone body of Dr. Dunmore. The patient lay sleeping on the bed. Hiding behind the bed was Dr. Cutler. She held up her hands. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

MALCOLM pointed his weapon at Dr. Cutler. MORGAN inspected Dr. Dunmore. Neither saw the impossibly long, almost human arm stretch from beneath the blanket covering the patient...

The arm shot forward and grabbed MALCOLM by the throat. As it started to crush his windpipe, MALCOLM brought his pistol up to it and fired. The force of the shot severed the arm.

The other arm extended out toward MORGAN.

MAYA appeared around the corner, pointing toward the sleep disorder unit's door. She saw the patient — now sitting upright — attacking the others with it's horrible limbs. She instinctively fired at it.

The human/thing took no notice of the bullet. It started to reform fingers on the end of the amputated limb. It launched it's shortened arm at MALCOLM. MALCOLM barely ducked in time to avoid being grabbed.

MORGAN dodged out of the way of the thing's other limb. He reached into his manpurse and grabbed a flask of acid. This was a neotissue thing, and they did not react well to acid. MORGAN threw the bottle at the creature. The bottle smashed on the creature's chest. The acid hit the neotissue... and ran off it. There was no hissing as the acid hit the flesh. There was no screaming or thrashing about, like there had been in their other encounters with these things. If not for the smell and the melting of a polyester tag on the "patient's" gown, MORGAN could have sworn the bottle had held only water. "Fuck!" yelled MORGAN.

This thing looked different from the other neotissue creatures. It was not conscious, as far as they could tell. In fact, the head of the "patient" lolled about with its eyes closed. It was as though the human/alien hybrid was in a trance, or asleep.

Dr. Cutler tried to get on her feet. Without hesitation, MALCOLM shot her in the chest. She crumpled.

Seeing that the acid had no effect, MORGAN yelled, "Run!" He and MALCOLM ran out of the room. MALCOLM slammed the door shut behind him. Something heavy slammed into the door, denting it.

MORGAN slapped the power button on the defibrillator, and pushed the charge button. MALCOLM went looking for a fire extinguisher but couldn't find one. He remembered seeing one in the hall. He ran to the door.

MAYA yelled, "No!" She cried, "There's a possessed baby out there!"

Almost in reply, something began scratching at the door to the unit.

The door to the room bounced. MORGAN ran over to it and put his shoulder against it. MALCOLM did the same thing as the defibrillator continued to charge.

The baby stopped scratching at the door.

The door to the patient's room started to buckle and bend. MALCOLM yelled, "Fire!" to MAYA. Instead, MAYA aimed at the bottom of the other door, at roughly baby height. MORGAN began to cry.

The male agents felt the door start to rip loose from its hinges.

A light on the defibrillator went bright red. It was charged. MORGAN threw himself at the crash cart. MALCOLM jumped out of the way. The neotissue creature with the lolling, sleeping head pulled the door inward with impossibly long, strong arms. The wires to the defibrillator went taught, and the crash cart began to move.

MORGAN stabbed at the button. The defibrillator discharged its electricity.

Smoke hissed from the neotissue thing. Though the electricity must have coursed through it in less than a second, it was enough to do something permanent to the creature. It dropped the door on top of itself and thrashed about, smoking and hissing. The arms dropped to the floor, then began to retract. A puddle of ooze pooled from underneath the bed covers.

The door to the sleep disorder unit opened. The agents turned to look. On the floor was a baby. There was no way the baby could have opened the door. Behind it were nine other identical babies.

"It's an army of babies," cried MAYA, "and this ain't right!"

For the first time MAYA could see the baby clearly. It had no eyes, nor eye sockets. She screamed. The baby held up a hand. There was a tiny fanged mouth on the palm of the baby's hand.

MAYA shot at the first demon-baby. "Talk to the hand!" she screamed, as she fired again. Both shots missed.

MALCOLM let out a yelp and aimed his gun at the nearest baby.

MORGAN let out a shriek. "Devil babies!" Seeing that there were ten babies he yelled out, "Bowling for babies!"

The demon-babies start to scamper forward like cockroaches, moving impossibly fast.

The agents fired. MORGAN struck the lead devil-baby in the head, tearing it apart. MALCOLM tore a limb off one devil-baby with his shot. MAYA took two bullets to pulp another baby. The others simply scampered over the remains in a headlong rush.

MALCOLM shot the leg off another baby. It continued forward, leaving a trail of blood and goo behind it.

MORGAN and MALCOLM fired down the hall. Devil-baby ichor splashes the walls. MAYA shoved the crash cart down the hall toward the babies, but they simply parted and let it roll past.

MALCOLM caught motion from the patient's room out of the corner of his eye. Dr. Cutler was sitting upright. She was pulling off her rubber gloves and chanting. He turned and discharged his pistol at her. The first bullet missed, the second hit. She screamed and held up her hands. MALCOLM saw that she had a fanged mouth on her palm, just like the devil-babies.

One of the devil-babies latched on to MAYA's calf and bit into it. The other four swarmed MORGAN.

Dr. Cutler continued to chant as her hair stood on end. Electricity filled the room, but it had nothing to do with the defibrillator this time.

MALCOLM moved forward slowly, deliberately, into the room. He fired at Dr. Cutler three times. One of the bullets slammed into her chest. She collapsed again. The electricity in the air started to dissipate. MALCOLM aimed at the doctor's head and double-tapped two bullets into her skull.

MAYA shot the devil-baby that had latched onto her. The baby-thing exploded on impact.

MORGAN blew apart the head of another devil-baby, then reached into his manpurse for his Elder Sign.

The agents fired and fired. The baby with the missing arm jumped onto MALCOLM and bit deeply. MORGAN and MAYA killed the other baby-things, leaving the floor covered in a blood-like puddle. MALCOLM put his gun up against the devil-baby's temple. He pulled the trigger. The last of the demonic babies burst, spraying MALCOLM and the room with reddish brown ichor.

MAYA heard shouts. The gun shots had finally attracted the attention of the police. MORGAN ran around opening up oxygen bottles. As he did so he yelled, "Oxygen leak!" hoping to drive off the authorities. MALCOLM looked in the room at Dr. Cutler. The mouths on Dr. Cutler's palms were fading away.

MAYA ran to the stairwell door. She opened it slightly. "Stop! Police!" came the response. She shut the door and ran back to the others.

MORGAN began drawing on a wall with a marker, chanting as he did so. He formed the outline of an interdimensional gate. They could hear more yelling from the stairwell as MORGAN scrawled the outline as fast as he dared. When he was finished, he coded the gate with a word. Instead of "minisub" he chose "devilbaby".

One after another, they popped out of the fifth floor sleep disorder unit and appeared near the hospital's main entrance. A dozen people were huddled near the entrance. A dozen feet away was the stairwell leading upstairs. Distant shouting could be heard from the stairwell. A woman stood in front of the doors. She turned around and started as MORGAN, MALCOLM and MAYA suddenly appeared behind her.

"Where did you come from?" asked the startled woman.

"Excuse me," said MALCOLM. "I'm just here for our boat." He walked past her, toward the supply closet.

MAYA stepped up to the woman, patted her arm, and said, "God said it will be okay." MAYA followed MALCOLM and MORGAN followed MAYA.

On their way down the hall they heard scared people talk about "gunshots" and "screaming". The agents took no notice. They came to the supply closet. No one was looking at them. They opened the door and stepped inside. They collected the rubber raft, the trolling motor, and their supplies. One after another they touched the squiggles on the wall and said, "minisub". They disappeared from New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005, 2:55 p.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Atlanta, Georgia

The agents left MORGAN's garage and walked into the house. MORGAN pulled out his first aid kit and treated MALCOLM. Then, he treated MAYA. When that was done, he checked his e-mail while the others rested. It felt good to be in air conditioning in an Atlanta suburb, far away from the devastation and chaos of New Orleans.

Internet queries turned up a medical research company called the Outlook Group in Bountin, Maryland. The agents were pretty sure that this is where the drugs in the Superdome came from.

They put together a report and e-mailed A Cell. They explained that there was some sort of mind-altering experimentation going on at the Superdome, and there were physiological experiments being conducted at the Memorial Medical Center. As per the document they were given, they believed that the Superdome experiments were part of the "Sub-Project RICOCHET field trials" under Dr. Gregory Musgrave, and the Memorial Medical Center experiments were part of the "Sub-Project BOUNCE field trials" under by Dr. Cynthia Jorgansen. They had no idea whether the devil babies were part of the experiment, but it seemed likely as Dr. Cutler (whom they suspected was Jorgansen) had the same strange mouth structures on her palms as did the devil babies. They surmised that it was part of some weird Majestic-12 experimentation gone horribly wrong. At the very least, Sub-Project BOUNCE appeared to have created a better neotissue creature. Nevertheless, M Cell apparently ended both experiments, violently.

Later that night they received a reply from A Cell congratulating them on a job well done. While their solution was less than "surgical", the chaos in New Orleans would cover their tracks. Another cell would be sent to investigate the Outlook Group facility in Maryland. They were congratulated again at the end of the e-mail. Apparently Agent ALEX was happy with what they had done. The agents relaxed for the rest of the day and evening.

Thursday, September 1, 2005, 5:47 p.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Atlanta, Georgia

The agents slept late the next morning, and hung around MORGAN's place. MALCOLM spent most of the day in a guest bedroom, on his own. Late that afternoon MALCOLM slipped into MORGAN's garage. The rubber raft and the trolling motor were still in the garage. He grabbed hold of them and dragged them over to the wall with the squiggles that would send him back to MAYA's house. MALCOLM touched the wall and said, "Minisub".

MALCOLM found himself chest deep in water in the middle of MAYA's living room. He pulled the boat out of the house. He tied off the boat and used the porch to climb into it. He untied the boat and started the trolling motor. MALCOLM piloted the rubber raft along the submerged streets of New Orleans.

It wasn't long before he arrived at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. MALCOLM had to carry the boat the last bit of the way. He dropped it off inside the cemetery's gates, and then walked to the center of the cemetery. Using the bone whistle TESS had given him, MALCOLM blew into it, then waited. To his amazement he found a dry spot of grass near a mausoleum. He sat there with his back against the tomb.

The city smelled of rot and decay. The day was punctuated by the occasional gunshot and the lapping of water on buildings not designed to be submerged. After all the excitement of the last couple of days, sitting in the stifling heat of the submerged city was actually strangely relaxing. As the sky darkened, the earth in front of him shifted and collapsed in on itself. MALCOLM stood. Out of the hole stepped the ghoul that was once his friend and partner Agent TESS.

She didn't say a word. She just stared at him, sniffing. MALCOLM asked her to take him to the Dreamlands. "I want to go to Celephais," he explained. He asked her if she would take him to the Dreamlands, and guide him out of the Underworld. She thought for a moment and then agreed. He asked her what it would cost, and she said she would let him know later. He nodded. He had affairs to tend to. In a month or so he would return. TESS sniffed, nodded, and jumped back into the hole.

As TESS disappeared down the hole, MALCOLM went back to the boat. He had no credentials and he was sure that security had been tightened at the hospital. After the shootings it was entirely possible someone had asked about the federal officials that had been asking pointed questions prior to the gun battle breaking out upstairs. If Nurse Bussey told the police that they had gone upstairs, they would be prime suspects. This was why he used the gate in MAYA's house and not the one in the hospital. MALCOLM piloted the boat back to MAYA's submerged home. He got out of the boat, pulled it into the house, and stood in the middle of the room. He closed his eyes and whispered, "Minisub".

Friday, September 2, 2005, 9:10 p.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Atlanta, Georgia

MALCOLM was suddenly standing in MORGAN's garage. He took off his shoes. He removed his shirt and pants and wrung them out. He put them back on and then walked into MORGAN's house.

MORGAN and MAYA stared at him as he walked barefoot into the house.

"Where did you go?" asked MORGAN.

"Recon," replied MALCOLM.

"Do you have anything to report?"

MALCOLM shook his head. "No. Looks like we were successful."

"Okay," said a suspicious MORGAN, but he didn't press MALCOLM on it. MALCOLM went into the guest room and pulled out a change of clothes. He stripped off in the bathroom and had a shower.

Friday, September 2, 2005, 10:21 a.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Atlanta, Georgia

A cab waited at the curb for Agent MALCOLM. On the way out to the street, MALCOLM told the other agents that he planned to head back into New Orleans on a scouting mission when the flood water had been pumped out. That might not be for several weeks, or even months. Regardless, he thought it wise to scout the city once the water had receded. The others agreed with him. MORGAN told him that if he couldn't get into the city any other way, he was to come to Atlanta and use one of the gates. MALCOLM thanked him.

MALCOLM threw his bags into the back seat of the cab, and then he climbed into the car. He rolled down the window and waved. "Bye," he said pleasantly but without much emotion. The others replied in kind. The cab drove off, headed for the airport.

MORGAN turned to MAYA. "Want to go car shopping?"

MAYA began crying, as she thought of her poor Mini Cooper sitting submerged in her garage back in New Orleans.

MORGAN bought MAYA a brand new Mini Cooper that afternoon. He expected to be repaid eventually, once the insurance had been settled. MAYA had actually been smart enough to get both storm insurance and flood insurance. She had paid enough for it; she hoped she was completely covered.

Friday, September 16, 2005, 9:11 a.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Socorro, New Mexico

Agent MALCOLM stayed with his parents in Massachusetts for a couple of weeks. Then he returned to his home in New Mexico. On the morning of Friday, September 16 he commuted in to work as he normally did. Shortly after 9 a.m. he went in to his boss' office and submitted his resignation, giving them two weeks notice. His boss was somewhat surprised. He asked MALCOLM why he was leaving. MALCOLM would only say that another opportunity had come up.

Saturday, October 1, 2005, 7:47 a.m. EDT

Undisclosed Location, Socorro, New Mexico

MALCOLM left his home in Socorro, New Mexico and made his way by bus to Albuquerque. He had shipped most of his possessions of any worth to his parents. He emptied his bank account and used the money to buy gold and silver. It had been a busy two weeks. When he got to the airport in Albuquerque he called MORGAN. MAYA was still staying with him, spending her days at the Atlanta IRS office while fighting with her insurance company. MALCOLM explained that he was going to check out what happened in New Orleans. MORGAN told him he would report to A Cell and wished him luck.

From Albuquerque MALCOLM caught a flight to Houston, Texas, which connected with a flight to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Once in Baton Rouge, MALCOLM purchased a gun and ammunition. He took a cab to New Orleans. He wasn't sure what shocked the cab driver the most, the handsome tip he gave him, or the fact that he had the cab driver drop him off at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

The cemetery looked the same as he had left it a month earlier. Only the dry roads leading to the cemetery were different. New Orleans was still a virtual ghost town, but at least most of the water was gone. Agent MALCOLM walked to the centre of the cemetery. He used the bone whistle to call up TESS. Within a few moments the ghoul appeared.

MALCOLM stared at the hole in the ground. He was still claustrophobic, but he was able to fight back his fear. TESS jumped into the hole first. MALCOLM followed. He was on his way to live, physically, in the Dreamlands. He didn't know when, if ever, he'd return...

"The river takes takes and takes
it doesn't change and only changes
see it there in a picture with me
there's a caption beneath,
'New Orleans is beat'
and if New Orleans is beat
if New Orleans is beat
if New Orleans is beat
if New Orleans is beat
where's that leave you and me?"
   - The Tragically Hip, "New Orleans is Beat" (2004)

This scenario is dedicated to the people of New Orleans, past, present, and future, and — with the deepest respect — to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the government response to it.