Germany day two
Having travelled all day yesterday, we were all beat and hit the sack early. This morning we rose to sounds of people rattling about in the kitchen area. A couple of locals were preparing a breakfast of cold meats, cheese and dark bread along with some half decent coffee.
A young French couple, about the only other guests at the hostel, tried to make small-talk with us but their English was poor and for some reason Zero wouldn't speak to them in French. Something about them coming from Paris.
Helga, or is it Olga, the bird with the big chest turned up just as our gear arrived in 5 large crates. Chad and Finlay did their best to impress her by carrying them into our rooms, although with little apparent success. Olga gave us some hiking maps and we studied them together, planning out a hike that would take us around the castle.
Once she finally left, we took a look in the crates. One was marked in English to be opened first. Sitting on top of the other gear were a white noise generator and a bug scanner. A quick check indicated multiple bugs and after a bit of surreptitious searching we discovered a couple of concealed mics and cameras.
After a whispered discussion Zero announced she was going to go and 'get changed to go hiking'. Hoping that would keep our watchers distracted for a while, we made a very brief inventory of the crates. In addition to some hiking, climbing and camping gear, including snowshoes of all things, the crates also included night camo outfits and two sets of gun cases. While we unloaded the more mundane items I was able to stash one of each of the cases in two of our backpacks to take with us on our hike later that day.
The hike was pleasant, with the tree all the colours of fall. The sky was clear and although cool, the weather was just right for hiking. Still we had a job to do and kept a close eye on the castle.
Two-men patrols walked the battlements about once an hour. The cable-car ran a couple of trips in the morning and again later in the day as we were returning to the hostel but was not used at all during the day. We spotted no vehicles going into or coming out of the castle, but at one point the high-pitched whine of rotors drew our attention to a small rotordrone flying over the castle. This one did not get shot down so it's pretty safe to assume that it came from the castle.
We opened the gun cases. The smaller one contained an Ares Predator. It was fitted with an external smartlink that interfaced smoothly with mine, and also a silencer. Not my gun of choice, but at least it's not some German crap. The larger case contained a stripped down SMG. It's an H&K277S, the silenced version like the ones used by the Swiss hit team that attacked us in Scotland. German crap, but at least it is also sound suppressed.
My pleasant mood was spoiled by the padre and Zero complaining about sore feet and in Zero's case about being outside in general. Chad is just impressed by the amount of green. We eat a hearty meal at one of the few tourist restaurants in the village. Zero is listening in to the locals and mentions that they never say anything bad about the baron and never seem to talk about politics. Super-happy or scared of being overheard. Based on what we found at the hostel, I'd go with the latter.
Germany day three
Olga seems upset with Finlay this morning but he tells us that she is going to arrange for us to visit the castle tomorrow. We take a walk to the next village and visit some old church. The priest there talks almost as much as the padre, but seems to be a nice enough guy. However, he pretty much just sticks to the history of the church and won't be drawn on any other subjects.
Returning to the hostel in the afternoon, the padre claims he needs to rest. In fact he goes on an astral recon of the castle and main keep and comes back with some more details on the layout but no indication of the location of the book.
At the moment our options are pretty limited. None of us are expert climbers so event though we have plenty of gear, climbing the cliff to the castle is out of the question. The cable car is a possibility but we will wait to see how the visit goes tomorrow before deciding on that option. The current favorite, is for the padre to use his invisibility spell to sneak in, possibly along with one of more of us, and steal the book. It's a long walk up to the castle but it's the best option we have for now.
Germany day four
Up bright and early to visit the castle but it's a bit of a disappointment. First, the ride up in the cable car confirms our suspicions that the controls are only up in the castle. Not an option then, although we could still possilby use the cable as a rope slide if we can rig a braking mechanism at the bottom. This will mean that some of us will need to take control of the cable car station in the village.
Secondly, there are cameras all over the fraggin place. We also only get a brief tour along the battlements and the main courtyard. The baron guy has an interesting collection of limos, plus a couple of riot control vehicles armed with heavy machine guns. Maybe we can steal one of those to make our escape.
After the visit, we take a walk in the woods to discuss options. Zero brings her deck and we find a quiet spot where she can set up her satlink and hack in. Good news is that we are still only flagged as tourists. She sets up a program to loop the cameras after midnight tonight. This will give us time to check out the rest of the gear in the crates and hopefully get in and out without raising an alarm.
We agree to the following plan of action. Gabriel and Finlay will attempt to sneak in under the padre's invisibility spell while Chad and I secure the cable car station in the village and set up a braking rope. Zero will then deck in to provide matrix support to the boys who will use the cable slide to exit the castle once they have the book. Then Zero will hotwire one of the locals vehicles and we all get the hell out of dodge. I just hope it works.