ACE · Game Journals

ACE – Operation Hydra

Chapter 1 – Rosebud

For months General Marisa Correia had been holding hostage the city of Cordoba. A large dam overlooks the town and provides their power and a few months ago the general had brought in a band of the worst, most cowardly deserters from the Ventanilla army. They lined the dams walls with C4 and gave Correia a dead mans switch. If anything happened to her, or she left the vicinity of the dam, thousands would drown. And so her occupation began while the bulk of her forces raided the city for supplies.

Unfortunately for Correia, the population has grown sick and tired of being attacked. A revolution has started in the streets, and it’s going well. The rebels are pushing closer to the dam everyday, unknowing of the dead mans switch and the danger coming their way if they get too far. This is where and why ACE needs to intervene.

This information came from a reliable source. An agent on the inside codenamed “Velvet.” He’s been undercover as an interrogator for Correia since her occupation began. Granted, his local lingo and background didn’t check out, but Correia is not an inspiring or powerful leader and the only ones who followed her were the spineless and talentless washouts that couldn’t make it in any decent army. Basically a walk in the park for any ACE recruit.

Velvet had been sitting taking his turn on break from guard duty when he was called down to the Break Room turned Interrogation Chamber. In here there were vending machines, smashed open and emptied long ago. Tables and chairs, mostly pushed against the walls to make room for a work-out / interrogation area. A fridge full of moldy lunches from when the dam was actually worked on, and a cabinet full of cleaning supplies. The center of the room though sat a single chair with an ACE operator Velvet had never worked with before, but one that he had recognized.

Two guards stood watch on this interrogation, and one stood on the other side of the door. Typically when he had done this before, there was only one guard with him in the room. Something was different. Probably that they already knew Clover was ACE.

Velvet circled Clover in the chair. Once he was behind her, he leaned his rifle against the wall and roughly removed the gag over her mouth.

“What are you doing here?” Velvet asked.

“Water?” she responded. Velvet asked one of the guards to go fetch it, which he did, begrudgingly. Lowering the people watching the two spies play pretend down to one guard who was paying more attention to the empty vending machine than the prisoner and her interrogator.

“I’m on holiday.” Clover said to answer the question.

“Did you do much research before you chose Cordoba?”

“Nah, I’m not the planner in the family. It was my wife’s idea.”

Velvet, speaking to the guard says “On holiday” using air quotes. He then addresses Clover in a codespeak taught to every ACE agent which is mostly substituting words you mean for other seemingly non-sequitur words and does so in a language a basic soldier from South America wouldn’t understand. Lets say it was Italian.

“You’re with ACE?”

“I’m here with my family. We went on a hike and I got separated from them. Damn my daydreaming. I’ve got pictures of them in my wallet, wherever it is. Jamie is the boy. He’s got the curly hair. And Anna is the girl with the birthmark that looks like a little rosebud on her cheek.” Clover replies in English so the guard will understand. Though Clover wasn’t using codespeak, Velvet did pick up on the passphrase indicating a cover is blown and an extraction is imminent.

“A rosebud you say?” Velvet rubs his chin a bit contemplating what that means.

“That’s right. A rosebud.”

“Well that explains quite a bit.”

“What is she saying?” The guard has perked up attention. Clearly suspect.

“She’s talking about her family.” Velvet says trying to keep it covered up. “We may want to find them for leverage.”

“She doesn’t have a family, she’s an ACE spy. Are you falling for that?” the guard asked, getting more annoyed.

“Then she’ll want to keep up her facade.” Velvet said to try to keep him calm. Velvet turned back to Clover and asked in the Italian Codespeak “It seems they’re onto me and pretty confident in who you are, do we have a plan?”

In codespeak Clover replies “Uhu is disarming the bombs. After he does that, we need to take out the general and get the hell out of dodge. But we can’t take her out before that dam is clear.”

Velvet waits for the guard to stop paying as much attention. Silently mouths the word “sorry” and then delivers a back hand strike to Clovers face. He gets up front and aggressive. Begins to scream at her, but stays in the codespeak.

“We have some time while there’s only one guard, can you slip the bonds?”

Clover tries to dislocate a shoulder or something to break free, but simply can’t muster the strength. To make things worse, the guard notices her obvious struggle and begins pointing his weapon at her while looking at Velvet as if he still needs orders to kill.

Clover begins to falsely weep. Velvet puts a stopping hand up to the guard and then goes over and “tightens” her restraints for show. “She’s not going anywhere.” Velvet assured the guard.

Between the hysterical crying, and Velvet shouting and the guard unsure of who’s team they’re on, the room erupts in a chaos. Velvet throws Clovers chair back as she falls and grabs the gun propped against the wall and slips out of her leg bindings. Velvet then rushed the guard forcing his firearm into the air where he popped off a few rounds before shouting “The ACE spies are making their move!”

The guard on the other side of the door began to open it when Velvet threw the interrogation room guard against it slamming it shut. Clover runs to their side.

“Knock him out!” Velvet yells.

To which Clover replied with by executing the guard point blank.

The guards on the other side of the door have stepped away to find cover and gather reinforcements. Inside the room, Velvet grabs a gun off the fallen guard. Now armed, the two ACE spies try to figure a way out of a room with one entrance / exit which is protected by an army.

Chapter 2 – Airdrop

Uhu receives the greenlight for his air drop. As he falls in from above, he can see out over Cordoba. The city is burning as the revolutionaries wage their war. But even more troubling for Uhu is the sky. A major storm is brewing overhead. Knowing his exfil point will be the spillway tunnels of the dam, and knowing that those tunnels will flood in the harsh weather, his missions timestables had just moved up.

“Uhu to nest, do you read me?”

“This is Overwatch, we read you Uhu.”

“I see two guards standing near the powerhouse door. Is it safe to take them out? Or do they do radio check-ins?”

“You’re clear to engage Uhu.”

Uhu landed roughly 100m away and easily sniped the two guards away. He moved to the doorway and listened to the other side. Hearing the murmur of an incoming guard change, Uhu started to light up the door with automatic fire as soon as it opened. The shots killed the first guard but the second managed to dive down the stairs. He didn’t get much further when Uhu ran down and finished him off.

Down the steps Uhu walked into a locker room with a couple of old maintenance and engineers uniforms. It has been bastardized into a security checkpoint, but not a very good one. Uhu picks up a radio off the body of the guard that died at the bottom of the steps and started listening in on the troop channels.

Far below Uhu’s assault on the top floors, Clover discovered someones lunchbox and began to dump the contents on the nearest table to her. She found a bottle of water and an old sandwich wrapped in foil. Clover chugged the water and then stripped some pieces of foil off the old sandwich. Rummaging through the cleaning supplies she managed to find some toilet bowl cleaner. Combining the foil and the cleaner in the water bottle, a makeshift bomb was formed.

Uhu scrambled across the catwalks overlooking the generator floor watching the guards rush to get to the bottom floors to handle the chaos Clover and Velvet were causing. Uhu’s catwalk ended at a door marked Control and Monitoring.

“Hopefully the General is not in there.” He thought before peaking in the window in the door and seeing the General inside.

He thought to himself, “Oh snap.”

And then he said “Oh snap.”

And then he contemplated kicking in the door and shooting her.

Chapter 3 – Red Alerts

Clover and Velvet had the bomb put together and a system in place. Now it was about getting lucky with the timing of the explosion. Velvet threw open the door, Clover threw out the bomb, and one of the guards said “They found my lunch!”

Then there was a small explosion and Velvet and Clover made a break for a maintenance ladder up to the 2nd floor.

On the 1st floor, now within shouting distance of Clover and Velvet, Uhu is seeing the General and the many, many red alerts flashing on nearly every screen in the Control and Monitoring room. The storm is going to not only flood their extraction route, it’s going to destroy the dam. Correia’s bombs going off or not, Cordoba might drown anyway.

Uhu stepped into the room.

“Hands up and nobody needs to die!” he shouted to Correia and her guards. Which illicited almost no response.

“I don’t have time for you. Can’t you read?” she asked Uhu while ordering her guards to stay on their station.

“Read what?” a confused Uhu asked.

“The warning indicators. The storm is coming to knock out the dam, and we’re all going to die, and all the people below us are going to die. Aren’t you here to stop that?” she said, kind of correct.

“Yeah, time runs short, you call of your hounds, tell me where the bombs are and before you know it you can get out of here with what riches you got left.” Uhu knew his mission priority was the town below, not Correia’s head.

“You don’t get it. There is no getting to the bombs anymore. We drained the Penstock and lined that tunnel with the C4. We assumed we could drain it again. We can’t without the engineers, and even if they were here, they couldn’t drain it because of the excess water from the rain. The bombs are stuck there.”

“I don’t suppose you’re going to stop us from trying to defuse them anyway.”

“You defuse the bombs and then what? I’m gone, and you’ve condemned the civilians below to the flood when the storm kills the dam anyway.” Correia knew Uhu was giving her and her men an out and she was going to take it.
“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I solve problems one step at a time”
“Ok, I’ll order all the troops up to the road, and this can be your problem. You might want to stop your friends below from doing anything dumb.” Said Correia while, below her, Clover was knocking over shelves to keep her pursuers off her trail.
Uhu lets Correia and her men walk. On the catwalks he shouts down “Clover I need you to look at these dials!” Which she heard and announced she was on her way.

Chapter 4 – Introductions

While almost all of Correias band of misfits had left the dam, two people stayed behind. One called himself Sam Nelson. Claimed to be a part of another agency, though didn’t disclose which one. Says he had been working Correia long before she ever took over the dam or planed anything as dangerous as this.
The other man was Len Marquez, a Cordoba native who never felt right following Correia, but didn’t see his way out until ACE got involved. He wants the dam to stand as much as anyone else since his family and friends are at risk right below it.
Uhu begins to radio Overwatch. “Correia will gather her troops for evac, the storm is threatening to destroy the Dam, and we may not be able to reach the bombs in the penstock. Make sure to have Air assets up to take her out.”
“Uhu we’re watching the troops movement. It’s erratic. It looks like this insurgency is done. Correia is standing at the door watching her deadmans trigger. She’s waiting for an indication that the bombs are offline before fleeing.”
“What do we do about the people below?” asked Velvet.
“There’s too many to evacuate with this little time.” said Len, knowing the towns population.
“Plus with the rebels fighting down there, it’d be too hard to coordinate an evacuation efficiently.” Sam said, probably trying to prove that he knew what he was talking about even though nobody cared.

Clover? You’re the smart one, can we reach the bombs, and how do we stop the storm from breaking the dam?” Uhu asked, starting to sound concerned.

“They got to have gear for underwater maintenance somewhere. Maybe I can disarm the bombs that way!” Uhu stated, going well into concerned.
“The dam is falling apart.” Clover said, interrupting Uhu’s scuba adventure. “But if we start flooding the spillways now, the dam will potentially just collapse without flooding the entire city. But then, we have no extraction there.”
“We don’t need exfil anymore.” replied Uhu.
“If we flood the spillways we won’t have any dry access to the bombs either.” Clover added.
“If it will collapse anyway, what do the bombs matter?” Uhu asked, but Sam interrupted before they could go affirmative on the plan.
“My agencies intel says there aren’t bombs in the dam anyway. That they were a bluff by Correia.”
“Doesn’t surprise me.” said Clover and the rest of the team had the same not-at-all shocked expressions.
“Uhu, this is Overwatch. Correia has stepped out the door. Uhu, do you read? She might be close to leaving the boundaries of her dead mans switch!”
Uhu laughed when he heard his radio chime in with this.
“Overwatch, this is Uhu. There are no bombs.”
“Satellite image is unclear Uhu, but Correia appears to be speaking.”
Uhu headed up the stairs through the security checkpoint. He managed to get on the other side of the door right as she finished reading off coordinates. Correia put her back to the dam and pulled her ripcord (the device everyone had, until now, thought was her dead mans switch.) A balloon popped out behind her and a skyhook extraction jet pulled her away overhead. Uhu fired a shot in her direction, but she was too distant. He’s not sure if he managed to land it or not.
After the gunfire, and between the rumbling of thunder and the heavy rainfall, Uhu managed to identify the sounds of more incoming aircraft. Heavier craft than the extraction jet.
“Overwatch, did you see that? Girl’s got spunk!”
“We saw uhu, and we’re tracking her. But we’re also reading bombers inbound for the dam. The C4 was a bluff but the destruction of the city was not. Our suggestion? Either find her passphrase to cancel the bombing run order, or cut your losses and run.”

Chapter 5 – Rosebud

In regards to finding the passphrase, the team had narrowed it down to a few options. The Control and Monitoring room where Correia spent most of her active duty time. The Turbine Access point which she visited often, though apparently not to plant C4. And the Security / Locker Room near the entrance.

Clover set to work on flooding the spillways while Velvet ran down to the turbine room. Uhu checked the upstairs security room and Sam and Len stuck around to help Clover.

Up in the security room, Uhu found a radio charging base not used by the guards radio. It was obviously a fake the way the wires ran, drill sloppily into the wall and with no power cable. It was a transmitter or signal booster used by Correia’s radio when she gave the bombing run order. It didn’t have the passphrase, or a means of relaying the phrase, but the wires would lead to it’s key.

In the Control and Monitoring room, Clover could see the spillways flooding. The intake towers are showing a sufficient drain on the reservoir and save the town, but the dam is still prone to collapse.

And down below in the Turbine Access Velvet was discovering where Correia had been hiding her personal effects. Sam and Len had both noticed she didn’t keep her things with the rest of the troops and figured they must be somewhere else. Among her stash were troop radios, clothes, a handwritten note containing the coordinates of the dam, and a black signal relay device which had the same yellow wiring situation that Uhu had discovered up top. But most disturbingly, the stash contained a personnel file for the three ACE agents codenamed Uhu, Clover, and Velvet. All three laden with handwritten notes in a mans handwriting that mentioned the phrase “Rosebud” as a milestone for the dam occupation.

The group got together to figure out Correias passphrase, but were running out of time and ideas. Sam suggested that Correia was very personal and the phrase would mean something significant to her. Len couldn’t place that the general had liked anything other than murder and brutality. Uhu asked Overwatch to get a history on her potential past lovers hoping to find something there.

“No one since she’s been stuck in the dam. Her latest interaction is with a… hang on Uhu, these files can’t be right.”

“Yeah, we’re through the looking glass over here.”

“She last met with a James Belisle. Belisle is an ACE agent, but it isn’t likely they were romantically involved.”

Velvet started to put it together. Correia had ACE ties and a knowledge that ACE would interfere.

“It can’t be that easy.” Velvet said holding the signal relay device.

“It can, but good luck if it isn’t.” Said Uhu before he bolted towards the top of the stairs with Sam, Len, and Clover close behind.

Velvet typed in his guess. R-O-S-E-B-U-D and waited for a second before realizing the device had no indicator to signal if the command had been approved or not. He turned tail and sprinted out of the dam, hoping for the best.

They ran out of the powerhouse and down Padre Caro road away from the dam. Lightning struck and the spillways began to collapse. The rain fell hard. The dam fell harder. But the landslide and rubble would still suppress the flooding just enough to not overwhelm the city below. If the bombers overhead dropped their payload, they’d clear the way for a much larger flood.

In the darkness, the spies couldn’t make out the silhouette or paintjobs of the bombers overhead. As they flew by everyone held their breath. But the planes never dropped their payload.

“What passphrase did you use Velvet?” asked Clover upon seeing mission success-ish.

“It was Rosebud. Our phrase. Did Belisle tell her?”

“He must have.”

“That’s a message to us huh?” said Uhu before the airspace cleared and extraction picked them up.

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