It’s a Chopper, Baby
Written by James Hicks
The Place: The jungles of South America.
The Hook: A helicopter carrying two US congressmen disappeared somewhere over the Amazon jungle. It is especially important that the VIPs be found and rescued, as they were on their way to brief Colombian officials on an upcoming operation in the war on drugs.
The Beginning: The PCs locate the wreckage of the downed chopper, but most of the passengers and crew — including the VIPs — are gone. Only two bodies are present (the pilot and a bodyguard), and further investigation may reveal that although the bodyguard died in the crash, the pilot died from a gunshot wound to the head. Further, the wreckage is surprisingly intact — characters may realize that it was at a fairly low speed and altitude when it crashed, or else there wouldn’t have been much left.
Tracks and blood trails can be seen leading away from the crash site and into the jungle (one large group of people, with several of them injured).
The Twist: One of the congressmen is a WEB operative (as are his bodyguards) who has spent years working his way into the US government, and serves on several committees to help carry out the war on drugs. He serves WEB by giving them advance notice of these operations, thereby helping to protect WEB’s drug-related interests. Government officials have long suspected that a mole exists within the ranks, but have been unable to pinpoint who it is (the congressman is not even a suspect), so the latest operation came as a complete surprise. He quickly formed a plan to have his bodyguards hijack the chopper and take it to a WEB compound in the jungle. It would look like a kidnapping, with the passengers and crew held for ransom — this would delay the operation (the Colombians have not yet been briefed) and he would be able to warn his WEB masters.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. The WEB operatives pulled off the hijacking, but they only knew the approximate location of the compound. At gunpoint, the pilot was forced to fly around at low altitude until the compound was eventually spotted. Just then, the chopper hit some turbulence and the gun being held to the pilot’s head accidentally went off, killing the pilot instantly and causing the helicopter to crash.
The congressman is giving no indication whatsoever as to his involvement, and instead is playing the role of a hostage. But now his thugs are playing things by ear instead of following the plan. They are doing well at this point, headed in the general direction of the compound that they glimpsed from the air. AT NO POINT will the congressman reveal his involvement, though PCs who follow the group instead of confronting them right away may notice that the lead hijacker always looks at the congressman whenever a decision is to be made, as if looking for some sort of visual clue (which the congressman does not provide).
The Outcome: The operatives at the WEB compound know about the chopper crash, but not about the plan. They have sent an armed search party to the crash site. This party will be encountered somewhere — at the crash site if the PCs stay there too long, as reinforcements if the PCs confront the hijackers, or else they will discover the PCs if they choose to follow and watch the hijackers. In any case, they are numerous and well-armed… they are a group to run from and not a group to fight.
Eventually the hijackers will make their way to the compound. The WEB search party will continue to look for the PCs if they were aware of them. To continue the mission, the PCs must enter the compound and rescue the hostages (including the congressman).
In all likelihood, the congressman will return to the US and continue to serve WEB. He might make a nice adversary in future adventures.