Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fiasco: Lucky Strike

The year: 1944
The place: France, US Army Replacement Depot Lucky Strike

Corporal "Handsome" Dan Kronsteen and Sergeant William "Kill Bill" Andersen are the sole survivors of an attack on a nearby village and have only managed to escape by capturing a Tiger tank, single-handedly killing every Kraut in their way, and driving the tank back to base. This has earned them a medal and a few days' respite at Lucky Strike.

The tank is still parked outside, but it's nothing more than a shell. Anderson has sold any moveable parts and so he's well-known as a fixer to Sergeant Jeremy O'Reilly, supply clerk at Strike. O'Reilly has a business proposal: four boxes of morphine and amphetamines have been delivered to Lucky Strike by clerical error and it would be a shame to just let them sit there.

click for Black Market

Seeing a lot of easy money coming their way, Kronsteen and Andersen agree. They lose no time in building a customer base: at the mess hall, Andersen once again re-tells the story of their heroic escape and then hints that they only managed it because they had had a supply of amphetamines. The G.I.s are sceptical at first, but when the first guy forks over the money because he wants to make sure he sees his fiancée again, most of them follow.

The three entrepreneurs decide to stash the drugs in the Tiger tank outside the camp, load a jeep with the boxes and O'Reilly goes to deal with the guards. Just as some money and cigarettes are changing hands, the Colonel and his watch dog, First Lieutenant "Hawkeye" Simpson come along and O'Reilly goes straight to jail and does not collect 200 dollars. The drugs once again go back into the supply depot.

Four days later, O'Reilly is a free man again and meanwhile, the drug dealing is in full swing. The morphine is not a good sell, however, and the amphetamines are already running low. O'Reilly suggests that he could arrange a meeting with some Resistance fighters who would be interested in the morphine and if he had access to the Colonel's office, he could forge some acquisition papers for more amphetamines.

Access to the office can be arranged: Kronsteen has become involved with the Colonel's secretary, Private Louise Hancock, and she could be easily convinced to turn a blind eye. During an earlier...visit that was rudely interrupted by Lieutenant Simpson, Kronsteen overheard that a plane was to leave this evening and with the right march orders, it could be theirs.

No time is to be lost. Andersen gets the Colonel out of his office with some cock and bull story about the latrines being too close to the mess hall (the Colonel likes everything just so and is the type to micromanage). Kronsteen busies himself with the secretary and O'Reilly make a run into the office, grabs the papers they need and while he's there, he changes Andersen's march orders so that he can stay a while longer.

At this point, plans become mixed up. Kronsteen plans to desert, O'Reilly just wants to get more amphetamines and use the plane for the meeting with the Resistance and Andersen is just going along. Or is he? When Kronsteen leaves the office, he sees Andersen and Lieutenant Hawkeye talking and what he overhears worries him, they seem to work together.

Since the Colonel was not amused to find that Andersen had send him on a wild goose chase, Andersen gets to dig latrines for the rest of the day. O'Reilly goes to arrange the meeting with the Resistance and Kronsteen sneaks into the supply office to get himself civilian clothes and as much of the stuff he will need to disappear as possible. He's just about to leave when Lieutenant Hawkeye catches him. Kronsteen tries to blackmail him, he knows that the man is involved in black market activities, but Hawkeye is having none of it. So Kronsteen pulls his knife and cuts the lieutenant's throat. Not the best solution, but he's not planning to stay here any longer anyway.

O'Reilly chooses that exact moment to return and almost loses it when he sees what has happened. They hide the body in a box underneath a few crates with office supplies no-one will need in the next few days and decide that they better all desert. They hope that the Resistance will be able to supply passports for them to get to Spain, in exchange for the morphine.

They collect Andersen, who has a convincing excuse for his talk with Hawkeye: the lieutenant was the recipient for the four boxes they had stolen and while he didn't have proof, Hawkeye knew well who had them. But that's a moot point now. At eight o'clock sharp, they leave the camp in a jeep. Private Louise Hancock is an unplanned addition, she runs up to them, sauced on two thirds of a bottle of whiskey and demands to be taken along on the adventure. With no time for discussions, they let her get into the jeep and Kronsteen does his best to keep her quiet.

In a small grove, the jeep stops and the trees witness a rather grisly murder. Hancock's body is placed in a ditch and the three deserters see to it that they get to their plane. That at least works out beautifully and an hour later, they land on a small field where three Resistance fighters already wait for them.

O'Reilly discusses their plans with the Resistance while the others unload the crates with the drugs. Obviously, the French are not amused by being asked to help them desert and finally, one of them decides to cut negotiations short. He shots O'Reilly and all three fire at the plane. The pilot manages to start the motor and the plane takes off, not without Andersen throwing a hand grenade that kills or at least stuns the Resistance fighters.

When they are safely in the air, Andersen and Kronsteen are just debating what to do when the pilot steps up to Andersen and shoot him in cold blood. Kronsteen manages to talk his way out of the situation, but it costs him all his money. Andersens body is thrown out of the plane and they make their way to Spain. Here, Kronsteen makes a meagre living working at the docks and drinks to forget. Even the woman who falls in love with him cannot rescue him from his memories. When the war is over, he returns to the US one shady way or another. But it doesn't take long for him to be found. When the knock on his door finally comes, early one morning, he puts the pistol he carried all that time into his mouth and pulls the trigger.

Andersen became a war hero even in death. His body fell onto a genade that would have killed a squad of G.I.s. No-one is sure where he came from, but who knows anything in this war? So he gets a posthumous medal and a parade and a memorial in his little hometown in Ohio.

O'Reilly is still alive and the grenade attracted enough attention that he is found fast enough to save him. He wakes up days later and finds that he is a paraplegic and that all his crimes have been discovered. With a dishonourable discharge he returns home where his family takes care of him when they can be bothered. After a few years, he decides that he won't face one more day of this miserable life and he commits suicide as well.

It took us a while to get started with this playset, but after the First Act, it all fell into place. It was like watching a train gather speed only to drive full steam on a collapsing bridge. A wonderful Fiasco, in other words.

It might no be the most logical story of all times. But logic should not stand in the way of messing things up when you play Fiasco. The rule of cool (or rather: catastrophic) should be the only rule, as long as everyone's okay with what happens.

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