Coming Spring 2020: The SIReN Call

 THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL. CONTACT US VIA OUR  CONTACT FORM IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE RESERVE LIST

TOP SECRET: EYES ONLY

SITE CODENAME ARKTOS – 31.05.1973, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS.

[BEGIN TRANSCRIPT]

UNICORN-4: LEO COMMAND, THIS IS UNICORN-4. WE ARE ONSITE. EVERYBODY IS DEAD. REPEAT EVERYONE IS DEAD. THE SITE IS TOTAL LOSS. REPEAT, TOTAL LOSS.. [UNINTELLIGIBLE NOISES] …BLOODY MESS. NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT, LEO COMMAND. SECURITY TEAM AND BOFFINS ARE ALL DOWN. WE’RE SWEEPING THE EXTERNAL AREAS FOR SURVIVORS.

LEO: ROGER, UNICORN-4. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

UNICORN-4: LEO COMMAND, OUR SPECIALIST SAYS ALL THE EQUIPMENT IS INTACT. GENERATORS ARE STILL RUNNING. PLEASE ADVISE.

LEO: UNICORN-4, LET’S LOCK IT DOWN. WE ARE NOW UNDER CONDITIONS DARK OMEGA. REPEAT: WE ARE NOW UNDER DARK OMEGA. PROCEED. DO YOU COPY?

UNICORN-4: COPY, LEO COMMAND. WE ARE GO FOR DARK OMEGA. WE’RE GOING TO NEED A LOT OF BODY BAGS.

[END TRANSCRIPT


“…  I definitely think that we were on to something back in the War. We’d never have admitted it at the time, but we were a very long way away from anything testable; the computational power just wasn’t there, was it? It was a frightfully good enterprise, though, and I don’t think most of the chaps there considered it as anything but the most perfect holiday: away from the fighting; good Scottish air; and a never-before-solved problem to work on. Heaven!

Please do not get me wrong, however, as great strides were made. While I doubt I could impress upon the Minister the gulf between the theory of the Set Interstitium and even rudimentary methods to interact with it, I suspect from the very act of returning my letters you know the significance of what we achieved, and what we could do with access to modern technology. …”

– Letter dated 1963 from Professor Michael Newgarden to a name-redacted undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence.


Odysseus aims at providing the UK and her allies with a new form of communication, far in advance of anything possessed by the Soviet Bloc. Building on newly discovered paraphysics and advances in cryptography thanks to the computing revolution, it aims to take Britain through, into, the exciting frontier first hinted at by our Turing and the heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park in the Second World War. Cracking Enigma was only the beginning. The SIReN technology will crack open the entire future of intelligence operations, and leave the USSR in the dust.” – Classified official No. 10 briefing, 1965


I don’t care that he doesn’t understand the technical position; the Minister wants a full accounting of all High Classification projects, and that site has produced nothing actionable in three years. Research or not, the lack of results speaks loudly. If I were not so charitable I would argue that it is almost suspect. Mothball it if you have to, but for God’s sake do something about it before someone starts pointing fingers.” – Whitehall memo, 1969


Hello. Yes. This is Acton. From the Ministry. Yes, I do know what time it is, sir. But it’s urgent. Yes sir. It’s Strathbrerachan, sir. The skeleton crew we have up there? They picked up a signal half an hour ago. Right frequency, amplitude, everything. … No sir. No idea. It could be the Soviets but we’d not had any recent intelligence they were anywhere near there. Too concerned with psychic powers, just like the Americans. … All of them, sir? That’ll take hours! Yes sir, I understand. No expense spared, time, essence, et cetera. Defence of the Realm clause, yes. Everyone who knows anything, yes.” – Audio surveillance transcript, London,  28/05/1973 


PITCH

In the late 1960s, you were part of a secret group working on radical technology so new that even the recognised experts only understood a portion of the whole. To be able to work on something of this nature was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Its purpose: To create a new tool for communication. One that was untraceable, indecipherable without the appropriate knowledge, and completely non-interceptable. A tool that would be ideal for communicating with both agents in the field, as well as other affiliated factions.

The project’s name was SIReN, and the operation’s codename: Odysseus.

Dating back to a ministerial side venture in the closing years of the Second World War, and housed in an innocuous MoD property in the Scottish hills, the methods – collectively known as the Protocol – were grounded in cutting-edge mathematical theorems, but were rumoured to melded with methods drawn from obscure, even arcane, sources. At the time you were acutely aware that you were standing on the shoulders of giants. Indeed, maybe some of those giants had still moved amongst you during your time there, though you were never certain. Excess chit-chat was discouraged. As they used to tell you: You never know who is listening.

It was not a large operation as these things go. It consisted of a score of individuals drawn from diverse fields, who came in through diverse channels – from career military oversight, through operators of the utmost reliability and discretion, to the most reclusive of specialist ‘experts’ in the field (if it was even a recognised ‘field’ at all). All were there, however, to drive towards a unified goal: To turn an avant-garde scientific discipline into a reliable technology.

And you got close. You got so very close. The theory was sound, the technology operated as it should, but the results were never good. The metaphorical phone was operational, the right numbers had been dialled, but the line itself remained silent. In 1969 the project was folded. This was nominally done as part of a scaling back of intelligence projects, but at the time the forced abandonment of the work felt intensely personal.

Perhaps you had been wasting your time. Perhaps not.

Which is why, in 1973, an unexpected turn of events was made all the more strange. By means of a hand-delivered, classified TOP SECRET memo, you were informed that – after four years of no work being done on the project, and the equipment left in a stand-by state – a message had been received. Perhaps multiple messages – the memo did not go into specifics.

What is clear is that the team is being reassembled. Not everyone will be able to make it. Four years is a long time in the military intelligence community, particularly when some of the team had been around since 1943. In the time since the team was disbanded, you have been pursuing your own interests and career, possibly even questioning your political affiliations and allegiances.

The temptation of seeing through a project left unresolved is too much to ignore, however.

And so, like a sailor to the rocks, you are once more drawn to the Siren’s Call.

LOGISTICS

  • Event Date: Friday 29th May, 2020
  • Time In: Friday 29th May, 5pm
  • Time Out: Approximately midday, Sunday 31st May
  • Event Location: The Birks, click [here] for venue information
  • Ref Team: Cath, Jonno, Laura E, Laura W, Monica
  • Players: 16
  • Total Event cost: £130 (deposit of £40 payable on sign up) Please see our general Payment T&Cs here.

ABOUT

The SIReN Call is nominally a prequel to our previous event, On The Rocks, but this is where the links begin and end. No knowledge of On The Rocks is necessary, and for obvious reasons there will be no returning characters or ties to characters that were present at that event. The SIReN Call is intended to explain the circumstances that led to On The Rocks. The tone, style and nature of the threat will be different. So too will the resolution and stakes.

TONE AND STYLE

A far cry from the dark comedy of On The Rocks, The SIReN Call is intended to be an intense game with explicit emphasis on puzzle solving, code breaking, and pseudo-science. It will be exploring the last days of a team destined to be found dead. Expect long hours of focused work with clunky tech, strange codes, and a strict hierarchy. If Big Decisions, fringe science, and theorising are your preferred flavour, this event is for you. While there will be some degree of visceral horror, the horror is intended to be more existential and internal.

For those of you interested in such things, this event marks an opportunity to delve deep into the meta of the Aeon-verse.

The game is set during a time of paranoia. While – arguably – the apex of the Cold War has occurred with the Cuban Missile Crisis, player characters are not to know that this has historically marked the peak of the conflict. They can and should expect the hammer to fall at any time. MAD is a real and present threat and will continue to be so for some decades to come. To what extent character actions will impact on this is something you will have to discover.

Players going into this event should be aware that your characters will not survive the scenario. The event is not ‘unwinnable’, but the cost of victory will be a heavy one. Precisely what form and what outcome their ends will have is in your hands; you cannot control whether you die, only how you lived.

CONTENT WARNINGS/ADVISORY

  • Gore/Body horror
  • Existential horror
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation

BOOKING: CHARACTER ROLES AND CREATION

To see what role-types are available, [click here].

As part of the sign up process, you will be required to submit which role in the team you would like to play. You will be asked to submit a first choice, a second choice, and a choice indicating which role you would not like to play. We will do our best to cater to all requests. In the event that any one role is over subscribed, we may contact you to discuss. If you are unhappy with our suggested compromise, then we would be happy to refund your deposit prior to writing said character. As is standard for Aeon events, we will be writing full and original bespoke characters. 

Specific information on what the roles are will be released prior to bookings being taken. Some will focus heavily on the Science! of the project, some will be operational, and others will lean more towards security. We hope there will be a wide range of possibilities to interest all players.

ACCESSIBILITY

The Birks is an old building in a remote location without mobile signal or Internet.

Catering:

  • Aeon will attempt to cater for all allergens and dietary requirements. You must let us know of any needs you have prior to the event so we can ensure we have adequate provisions and signage. Please notify us of any changes as soon as you can.

Mobility:

There are several issues of accessibility to consider before signing up for any Aeon events set at the Birks. While the ref team will make every effort to adjust and accommodate any specific needs, there are some elements of the building itself that we cannot alter. These include:

  • Uneven flooring.  Some parts of the building have very old, uneven floorboards and flagstones, some of which have subsided slightly, creating lips and ruts in places. These may catch crutches/wheels. Caution should also be taken when floors are wet as they can become extremely slippery.
  • The front entrance to the house is across a gravel path, up to a flagstone step approximately 3″ in height. This can make it difficult for wheelchair users or people who have difficulty walking. We will endeavour to assist wherever possible
  • There are internal stairs which will restrict movement for wheelchair users and may be problematic for those with limited mobility. Navigation of a small set of steps is necessary to reach the bathroom area from the entrance. Further flights of stairs must be ascended to reach bedrooms.
  • There is a downstairs toilet and shower area which is accessible for wheelchair users once they have been raised above the initial entrance level and are in the main living room area.

Our event will be making use of areas around the house. These areas are wild and unstable underfoot with forests, and moors. These are not accessible for a wheelchair user and may cause difficulty for those with mobility issues. The problems include:

  • Uneven paths. This may cause people with fatigue or mobility issues difficulty.
  • Muddy ground. Parts of the ground very quickly become boggy in the rain, which can present difficulty for those with mobility issues.
  • Marshy ground. Parts of the ground are often water-logged regardless of the time of year which can present difficulty for those with mobility issues.
  • Forests. The area is used by the forestry commission, and as such, there are managed forest areas where old trees have been left to rot. This results in highly unstable footing for all individuals wishing to explore the area.

If you have any further queries relating to accessibility or the pitch in general, please do not hesitate to contact Aeon on aeonhorror@gmail.com. Anything raised will be treated in confidence.

 

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