Dr. Giger's Report 4 - Milk Run

Mission: Pick up payment from The People's Hospital and try to barter for some items to fix 'the chair'.

Mission status: Circumstances have changed, preventing the original mission from being carried out. In brief, well-armed invaders have taken over The People's Hospital.

New Mission (decided on in the field): Collect information on the invaders.

New Mission Status: Basic information gathered. Unfortunately staying longer would draw too much suspicion onto ourselves. Important items to note: 1)

Detailed summary: Myself, Troieux, Fester Busch, Laurent T. GĂ©vaudan, and Julien Lancelot were sent on a simple pick-up run to grab the milk we were promised. We were also tasked with attempting to bargain for the items required to fix 'the chair'. When we got near the Hospital, we were greeted by a few men in armour styled like the Roman Legionaries of ancient history standing with a makeshift roadblock (a large fallen tree). They informed us that we had 'reached the border of the Roman Empire' and had to tell them why we were there. Laurent was annoyed that they called themselves Romans, and told them to stop trying to steal the Romani name. We told them we were traders, heading to the Hospital to trade, and they let us through.

Upon our arrival, we discovered a large set of tents, and were ordered to park in a different spot to normal. We discovered that the so-called Romans had attacked the town exactly a week prior, striking in the dead of night. They are from Italy, and came around the mountains, which is why they fell upon the Hospital before hitting us. There are two or three leaders; a military leader, a political leader, and a third individual who was posing as a normal soldier but who outranked the military leader. The political leader, named (1), is a hardline sociopath who has significant training in showing the correct emotions at all times. If we want to go the political route with these people, he is who we will have to go through. Be warned; along with being sociopathic, he is also a fanatic; he believes fully in the Roman Empire, though, in my opinion, he does not seem to care overmuch for the Roman Senate; he is likely to take actions and opportunities that will advance the cause of the Empire even if those actions are opposing direct orders. Although this gives us an angle of attack to focus on, I would council caution as it also means he is likely to be absolutely ruthless in the name of his cause. The military leader, named Centurion (2) I did not see first hand, and instead was told about him by Julien. I was told that, although he has a helmet showing his rank, he prefers to wear a helmet no different to the basic soldiers; most likely as it allows him to hide easier in their ranks and not be a primary target. However, I was also told that his armour shows that it has been used far more than the general soldiers, so we may be able to identify him through that. There are three more soldiers of note; (3) was originally placed to watch over me while I was offering medical aid to the People; he seemed paranoid about preventing me from talking to the People about anything not medical related, and seemed to have good knowledge of all of the Roman soldiers due to recognising Laurent as not being one of them as soon as he saw him in a set of their armour. From what Julien told me, he also outranked the military leader, though was not currently in charge due to the Hospital being under martial law, which puts the military leader in charge; (4) was a normal soldier put in charge of watching over me when (3) left to chase Julien, with whom I fraternised so that he liked me, including getting him drunk, to make talking to the People surrepticiously easier; (5) was identified by (4) as being a spy for the Roman Emperor. He attempted to pump Laurent for information through seduction, but Julien saw through his ruse and knocked him unconscious. Please look at attached documents for (a) a map of their set-up, and (b) drawings and descriptions of the five notables discussed above.

We met the political leader at the tent, and he gave us a short run-down of what had happened. We claimed to be traders working for the United Front to trade for supplies with the Hospital as we were going that direction anyway. Afer some back and forth, they told us that they were categorising the medical supplies to see what was worth taking back to Rome. We managed to sweet-talk them into showing the supplies so that we could 'ear-mark what we were interested in so we could possibly bargain for the items if Rome didn't call for them'. Laurent slipped off wth (5) while we were walking to the Hospital. We went into the basement (X clerical staff, X guards) and found what we needed, and managed to convince them to store these items, marked, in a single location. While we didn't manage to liberate them while we were there, it should make it much easier to claim these items if we do so in future. At this point, looking at how the political leader was interacting with the others, I realised that his 'easy manner' was specifically calculated to socially disarm; if someone says something that he should smile at, it takes him a fraction of a second to realise. I decided I didn't want to be around someone so dangerous, and asked if I could 'see my patients' in the village, stating that all of the villagers were my patients as they are all clumsy to sell to their biases about people out here on the fringes. It worked really well, and they allowed me to set up in the village. I was treating the villagers for about an hour when one slipped me a note asking me to meet the resistance later that night.

A few minutes later, Laurent turned up in a Roman uniform and tried to convince (3) that he was meant to take over. As stated above, he was immediately labelled an imposter and attacked. He ran away, with (3) chasing close behind. (4) was then sent to take his place; due to the fact that he was just guarding me rather than watching me, I decided to increase this lax attitude through talking to him and offering him some drink. He soon took to drinking his own booze. In the time between (3) leaving and (4) arriving, I called forth anyone else who had notes for me; three others turned up, all with different times and room numbers for a meeting. I called over the original note-slipper, told them I would be in room 305 at nightfall, and that they should seperately go back to their resistance cells to tell them (a) where to meet me and (b) that they weren't alone even in the village. Shortly after that, Laurent turned up half-naked with two guards and a naked (5). I used this as an opportunity to ask to use room 305, putting us where the cell wanted to meet us, and, as (3) wasn't too drunk yet, managed to keep him, and only him, looking after us. I restrained and doped (5) to keep him under, (a) because he had severe neck wounds and thrashing around would cause him severe damage, and (b) because it allowed us to stay in the room for hours on end, "seeing the rest of the patients".

An hour or two later, Julien turned up with a different guard to talk with us about what was happening. We managed to make (4) seem sober enough that the new guard didn't realise. He told (4) that, when Julien was going to leave, to make sure he had a guard escourt. Julien told us that (3) had gone a bit mad; after losing Laurent he ordered the guards to look for him, then was told by (1) to take Julien to us; he thought I was still in the field under guard and so, arriving at the field sans myself, the guard, and all the villagers, got into a bit of a panic and dragged Julien around the encampment asking the other soldiers where we were, eventually entering (2)s tent and reporting we were missing. He then got yelled at by (2) for (a) wasting the soldiers time searching for Laurent (they don't know it was Laurent that pulled that trick, by the way), (b) wasting the soldiers time demanding to know my whereabouts when he could have just come and asked because it had gone through the chain of command and (2) knew for a fact where we were, and (c) wasting a guests time by dragging him around the camp for ages on a fool's errand, then sent him back to his tent to rest and asked a different guard to bring Julien to me. We asked the guard to wait outside the room because Julien 'had a gentleman's complaint that he needed to talk about in private', which he bought, especially as we offered him more booze, then we discussed the practicalities of what needed to happen. We provided Julien with our preliminary report that he has already passed on to you, and then outlined our plans for a meeting with the resistance. We told him that he, Troieux and Fester should pretend to be sick of waiting for us and leave, telling the Romans that we took too long and can 'walk home', which he carried out. It is also worth noting that (4) was too drunk to remember to assign a guard to him, allowing Julein to walk freely through the Hospital and make notes on what he saw. Being 'abandoned' allowed us time to see the last of the People who needed aid, as well as getting us to meeting time. At this point, (4) was catatonically drunk, so we placed him out in the corridor with someone to watch over him and had a very quick meeting with the Resistance cells. We learned the following:
(a) one third of the People want us to reclaim the Hospital for them
(b) one quarter of the People want the Romans to keep the Hospital as the Roman Empire is expansionary
(c) five twelths of the People (almost half) don't care who is in charge, they just want peace
(d) the Romans siezed their firearms to return them to Rome; the purpose of this is two-fold; firstly, it stops any resistance attempts from using guns. Secondly, it destroys the firearms trade; no one using guns means bullets can't be currency and no one makes them which means that weapons such as swords and spears, which they use and have been training with for years, become the most powerful weapons again
(e) the guns are still at the Hospital, but won't be for long; the resistance wants them so they can join in the fight against the Romans with more safety
(f) the Romans attacked under cover of night and, due to their spy, knew the layout of the Hospital, taking it quickly

Also during our observations of the encampment we learned the following:
(a) there are approximately 40 soldiers in the camp, not counting adjunct staff who are doing things like performing a census of the medical supplies in the basement
(b) the fact that a centurion is in charge means we can expect up to 100 soldiers, meaning that up to 60 are in the field, probably focussed around the Hospital
(c) the Roman Empire uses spies that go ahead of the army to gather information; we need to be super vigilant about new faces, both in the villages and at the fort; at this time when we are flooded by new recruits it would be supremely easy for the Empire to plant spies in our midst
(d) the Roman Empire uses a banner of gold lightning bolts on a red background as its flag. We need a flag to boost morale, and so we can replace theirs with ours to sap their morale.
(e) they are expansionary as all hell; peace with them now would only ever be short-term, but war with them is war with an empire. If we make peace, they can use the Hospital as a base to undermine our operations with the other villages and, eventually, take them from us too. If we make war, then it will most likely be the start of a very long-term war; it takes them three months of marching to get here from Italy, faster for those on horses, so if we took out all of the soldiers now we would only have a few months to prepare for an empire invading us
(f) If we go to war, we have to be expansionary. We will have to fall in line with what the Hospital has been asking for for so long, as we will need to strengthen all of our borders to prevent from the Romans just marching straight back in. We will need to fix our roads so we can move people down them quickly. We need to train everyone, not just our soldiers, in how to fight, so that even if we do not have a squad in the area they can hold their own; in how to heal, so small wounds gained in battle don't become deadly, and small diseases don't wipe out whole villages. We need to install working long-range communication units because the Scouts, as good as they are, failed us on this; we were the first to discover that the Hospital had been taken, and that after a week; a whole damn week when our people were suffering with wounds and the damn Romans didn't even have a doctor with them to treat the wounded. We are talking, ladies and gentlemen, of fighting fire with fire; ending the UF as we know it, and founding an empire in retaliation. Because I truly believe that that is what this will need. Our current modus operandi is not up to this task; to not fight is to welcome slow oblivion and decay, to fight without becoming more than we are is to welcome bloody war decimating us.
(g) yeah, so the Romans may not have a doctor seeing as they brought their spy to me for treatment
(h) As the Romans are using spies, I believe that it is time to fight fire with fire. I am willing to train to become one as well; I have a good reputation in quite a wide range, people know me as a trustworthy Doctor, so they are less likely to suspect me. I have already proven myself willing to work with the Romans to heal their people, so they may be inclined to look upon me less suspiciously than normal, though they are not likely to fully accept me. I, along with Laurent, also have an 'in' with (4) as we were so friendly and social with him.

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