Stubber has written up last mondays session of Matt’s #unitcanpaign game in the style of his character Sergi.
From Sergeis notebook
So we finally learn from journalist (Brett) hotel room that there are evidence of at least 8 other kids gone missing. 8 too large to be coincidence. Police must be all over this – but no evidence of this. Police officer (Rawson) was Bretts contact (confirmed in her notes) and as inspector, he has power to start significant investigations. Why has this not happened? Has he been compromised?
Still, now we have Liz in western temple of consumerism, in HMV, where awful decadent music cannot be drowned out. Still, good place to talk to Liz – though would have preferred a proper interrogation, as she obviously scared & overwhelmed. As taught: never reach for pliers when honey can work. Good advice. Still, we learn a lot. We find the missing youths have a hang out – a bus shelter (not ideal, not good place for hiding anything) – then Claire makes excellent realisation: all the people who have disappeared were invited – in one way or other – to happy capitalist Metroland.
Journalist was going to meet someone, students were invited for a party & the Liz’s hoodlums were informed by someone that there would be a gap between cleaners & when security turned up. Liz very reluctant, mentions a friend of a friend who works for the cleaning company. At this point, Liz makes run for it, we can follow, but she almost certainly heading home to her mother.
So what next step. Have discussion: could speak with the guards – there are cameras here, so could perhaps see the CCTV & perhaps see the druids arriving? Then remember, Amber security has the same director as that of the cleaning company. Clearly linked, so if we investigate them without power to shut them down, we might be ‘tipping them off’ – allowing them to delete incriminating evidence and possibly disposing of kidnap victims.
Whilst there, we walk around outside searching – and find – Bretts car. It’s covered in leaves etc & we force entry, confident that we will find evidence relating to her disappearance. Once we open it, the remains of this womans existence comes spilling out. What a mess! Food, cigarettes, cans etc. Check for receipts, wrappers etc. Should be something about her life. Are successful eventually – partially – by finding another bullet in the glove compartment. Also, in the central well in a Styrofoam coffee cup, we find some scribbled napkins – these have a sketch of a circular thing. It’s the logo of the security company. Big line around it, 2 triangles on top of it – seems to be important – there is also a comment about watches.
It reads: “Watches? Need to get one?” – we remember that when we intercepted Liz, there were 2 security guards that had special watch-like machines around their wrists, allowing them to talk to their control station. Very high technology – would expect this if there is something military / industrial / research, but a shopping temple? Seems unusual. Perhaps this is what she is referring to?
Harry has idea – has seen symbol Brett has sketched before. Goes to bookshop – WHSmith & gets book – it is a symbol for a classical Greek maze layout. Labyrinth. Claire gets childs book on greek mythology from WHSmiths. Minotaur. Is this a consumerist temple a Labyrinth? The children did get lost here. Claire very excited, 12 people sacrificed to minotaur. Heros called Theseus. Ariadne helped him. Gave him some twine. Smuggles sword in, violence solves problem.
With this, not sure what to do. Talk about possibility of getting wiring diagrams of the center – good idea, but it might take time to get & people are missing. Team divides; Harry, Sid & Claire to go & visit the police.
Hetty & I stay behind to look at the place to see if we can find any secret passages (more secret than usual. Turns out that most shopping centres have concealed entrances, though the rest of the team are unmoved at the fact that I find no fewer than 17 of them within 15 minutes of casual observation!). Perhaps Liz got lost in one of these? Unlikely – very – but if doors were open, it might become more of a maze – though she seems to know the difference between upstairs and downstairs so I doubt that reason.
We do find lots of weird cameras in the cut-throughs, less so in the main areas.
I do manage to convince Hetty that we should look at the security officers – specifically their watches – they seem to be broadly as you would expect, with them focussed on shoplifters & trouble makers – in which case, why was Liz specifically being followed when we found her earlier on? The uniform looks typically paramilitary, except tan in colour. Not camouflage, with a tie & sensible boots. One thing though, there are no walkie talkies, only watches, work on their left wrist. We manage to get a closer look – they seem to be like calculator watches and they seem to have 10-ish mechanical buttons. Unusually, on their underside, there is another block to the watch, though it seems to be slightly smaller & is held quite tightly on the wrist. We watch the guards talk into them, so they are obviously communicators of some description though not like anything we’ve seen before (though, as that does not mean it is suspicious) – but fact that is being used to protect the shopping centre is unusual. As mentioned, if it were in hi-tech research lab or nuclear bunker, yes, high-tech apparatus would be if not expected, then certainly not unusual. Here? In shop? Nyet.
Strange thing happen as we shadowing the guards – they turn a corner to go into Aztec & they simply not there. I am certain there is secret door, perhaps trapdoor? – but cannot find any evidence. Decide that best plan – to further investigation whilst not raising suspicion – is to obtain watch from guard. Hetty very experienced and I try to help, but am very rusty and make string of mistakes. Control would have had me whipped – or worse – for my stupidity had I done this in Lubyanka! Decide best plan is to distract them so play up accent and start talking about Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – guards not sure what to be more concerned about – strange man who try to steal watch or strange man who talks with Russian accent and is clearly spy. Anyway, manage to get thrown out of holy temple of capitalist excess. Suspect I should feel like am cast from heaven into darkness, but not really. Beside Hetty with me – though she very busy getting aspirational prawn sandwiches for Claire, as part of stakeout supper. What similar traditions we have! Though I don’t think that Claire drinks vodka. ( More of a babysham or cider and black girl Ed)
Meanwhile, team-2 goes to talk to DI Rawson. He is reportedly happy to meet them and is mid-30s DI: he has professional manner – but Sid realises he’s very well dressed. He has good quality suit & watch, which is unusual as only just affordable for his salary range. Not entirely out of his price range, but not dressed as you would expected.
Rawson observes that we’re a long way from home – and he’s definitely talking to Harry & Sid, dropping in casual sexist behaviour & blanking out Claire almost entirely. Harry follows the cover story that we’re doing investigations of missing person.
Rawson IDs Brett, describes accurately as “Smokes, quite sweary, nice legs”. Confirms they did have some conversations about investigation of the missing teenagers. The team notes that he’s strangely unmoved at this & bristles when challenged: he mentions that kids disappear and they’ll be back soon enough when they run out of money. He is obviously hiding something & is equally casual about the students too – is a bit more concerning, but he protests they probably headed home – though is flustered at Harrys “But then they’d not be missing, would they?” Rawson starts to act high-handed, informing them that he’s got other things to do than chase after missing kids. When asked who reported the students missing, he reports that he hasn’t got the crime report – which is clearly a lie as he’s been referring to his otherwise comprehensive notes all along. He has all the other details to hand, so this is not correct.
He makes to end the conversation, noting that he went through all of this with Brett; she was noted that all of the disappearances were out of towners – and is stumped when Claire retorts that “She is now also missing, sir”
The team confirms that they’re looking into this as we think that there is some sort of organised kidnapping ring involving gangs across the country. Rawson looks aghast at this and nervously starts fiddling with his wrist where a glimpse of a tattoo is seen. Given his reaction, we suspect he’s probably not involved directly, but might have been encouraged to “not prioritise seemingly unimportant tasks” at the request of unnamed friends (director of Amber?)
He gets very twitchy & leaves, but only after agreeing to let Claire get the files immediately – though not before trying to unsuccessfully stall her by asking her to come back in a few days.
On checking the files, there is nothing about Brett (yet), and other files are very thin, leading to impression that they’ve just not been investigated. Student disappearances should definitely have been larger than it was and what we see agrees with what Brett already done.
We decide to follow Hettys plan and hide in the shopping centre. I was prepared to put on a disguise, but Hetty rolled her eyes at me dismissively in very English manner “They’re only security guards for goodness sake, Sergei”
Though we refuse to hide in cleaning cupboard – instead take different places. We see that there are obvious CCTV cameras that cover the main areas, so as long as we steer clear of them, we will be fine.
We meet up again in central section & then go to Medieval to see the place where Liz reported she got lost. Area closed, but shuttered. We see that decorations have many strange cameras in them. Probably Japanese as very advanced. We realise they seem to be focussed (in each area) on cut-through entrance ways – at place guards vanished when we were following them earlier!
Get closer and find obvious static charge / cold spot at very focus point of cameras: Claire has compass & sees that it goes crazy in that place. No light-switch or controls there, but on the wall is health & safety wall a sticker. No instructions given, but there is series of coloured symbols. Coloured square triangle circle. Red square orange etc. Hetty & I realise that buttons are the same on the security guard watches!
Clearly we need a watch.
At this point, we remember that we were going to check the stones themselves in Ancient cut-through: are genuine stones with faded inscriptions on them. We make rubbings of the stones, could not translate, but odd word becomes clear, something about religion – though we do translate ‘Mithras’ – late Roman word/deity. Carving is of soldiers fighting a larger figure – but cannot see anything clearly as its all worn away. Could be a cow, not sure. After checking, we decide to investigate the security station as there could be watches stored there.
We realise that something is wrong. The office is manned – when Liz was here (she reported) that there were no guards at the time they were engaging in antisocial behaviour. A thought… if the guards are the cultists / druids, and there was reports of blood in the police report, perhaps one of the guards might be injured. After whispered conversation, we realise that we have seen at least 1 of them (who was following Liz) who was definitely bandaged.
We decide to go into backrooms, Hatty picks lock with ease. Area is open plan – we can hear voices & the TV playing. There are 2 guards relaxing, watching “Play your cards right” on ITV. Behind them are a series of about 20 lockers. Some are open. Half of them have their keys taken out. Suspect that people have their own locker. Half locked, quarter open, quarter closed, but unlocked. We think.
We debate. Could go in & grab the guards and coerce information from them – or we could sneak in. Some discussion as we are not the “baddies” in this scenario & there is a real difference between “torturing suspected kidnappers for information” and “torturing known kidnappers for information”. Decide to not cross that line. Yet.
Hetty sneaks in & makes it look easy. Might have to let former colleagues know that she is clearly very experienced at these sorts of things. She returns, and the watch is more a sort of bracelet that widens and contracts – but it is clearly very advanced.
At this, we are faced with choice. Do we:
A: Sneak out & do more investigation into students, the watch, Amber security (their security tapes etc) & find the contact who invited kids to the site after-hours?
Pros: Get more information in general.
Cons: Suspected kidnapping, might be leaving people to suffer / chance they would get killed in any time wasted. Gives them time to destroy evidence.
B: Go to a cold spot & start mashing buttons on the watch, to potentially open a secret door?
Pros: Its proactive (might be able to disrupt the kidnapping – find Brett or the kids? Would be a major break in the case).
Cons: No backup. If it goes south, we are in trouble (and we know Brett & others could be in danger already).
Option-3: Something else.
We decide to… (continued next week Ed)