I cam up with this idea about eight or nine years ago and it’s still building in my head. It’s been comic script, a movie script, a roleplaying game… Every time is inspired by it again, I want to try another medium!
The following are extracts I supplied my gaming group with when I was designing the game.
Operation: Wren Phoenix
Transcript of psychiatric interview with London Survivor three weeks after the event.
“The dreams are the same. I’m running, but the crowd just gets thicker and thicker. We boil out of the tube station and into Oxford Circus…”
Subject pauses, collecting himself.
“I still hear the old World War II sirens, even though people are screaming all around me. That’s why everyone was panicking. For many of us, the next war or the end of the world was just around the corner, so to hear those wailing sounds simply confirmed it. It reall didn’t take people long to lose their minds once they heard that.
“Anyway, as we came out into the street people began wailing; their immediate suspicions horribly realised. A plume of smoke rose into the sky from the direction of of Tottenham Court road, wide and thick and oily. It bubbled into the sky like spilt wine on a carpet, ruining the pristine sky.”
Subject pauses. Subject begins to sob and nurses offer condolences and help. Subject recovers after a moment.
“I think that’s what’s upsetting me the most; not the violence after that, nor the ordeal of escaping the city or the permanent quarantine that followed. No, what’s upsetting me most of all is that’s the last blue sky I, or indeed London, ever saw…”
Operation: Wren Phoenix
Excerpt from forensic analysis of Article 16 [Article 16 was retrieved from a civilian who claimed that he took it from a living specimen – due to security reasons, any reference to it has been censored].
Biological analysis confirms that it is a natural, living specimen; a [Article 16]. However, when we examined it’s DNA structure, we found the specimen difficult to understand. The strand appears to contain more base pairs than normal DNA, rendering our current instrumentation ineffective at providing a comprehensive analysis at this time.
Following this, we subjected the [Article 16] to a full spectroscopic investigation. In these subsequent tests, we discovered that, unlike other carbon-based life forms which have 12 and 13 neutrons, this had 55. In effect, this is an impossible isotope; the atomic structure should be decaying at an alarming rate. In addition, this releases a concerning level of radiation; the escaping neutrons could potentially have harmful carcinogenic effects on any other living tissue it comes into contact with.
Another feature of this atomic decomposition is that the energy released could potentially be harnessed by this organism. It would explain the current claims that these creatures can [EXCERPT CENSORED BY ORDER OF MoD].
Operation: Wren Phoenix
Transcript of the speech given by Andrew Robathan, minister for defence, after the evacuation and quarantine of London.
“We stand here having lost the heart of our fair country. Even as we speak, insurgents have claimed our capital, destroying what we have held dear for centuries. Never, in the history of our modern government, has the city of London been invaded or occupied, yet now we face dark and unimaginable times.
“The city has been quarantined. Officers from the the 3rd infantry division have been stationed around the city, erecting barricades and strategic defences to prevent any further incursion from enemy forces. Operatives have been informed that they are to seal off the city and prevent any further individuals from leaving the site. Rest assured, your safety in these times is our paramount concern.
“Other cities and major civilian and metropolitan areas appear to be free from attack. No other incidents have occurred outside of the city and we have no reason to believe that there will be any further attacks. We advise people to try and carry on with their daily lives, avoiding the city of London and it’s surrounding boroughs for the foreseeable future. If you are contacted by anyone who claims to be from or currently residing within the city, it is your civil duty to contact your local authority as soon as possible.
“Please be aware that we are now at war with the terrorists who have attacked our capital. We will stop at nothing to reclaim our city and remove the insurgents from the streets. Our military specialists are already hard at work, whilst our scientific community busies itself with the development of vaccines against the weapons used in the attack. We will be victorious in this endeavour.
“Though our tragedy is great, our resolve is even greater.”
SPECIAL RECON REGIMENT
BY ORDER OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
SHARING THE INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN THESE DOCUMENTS IS A TRAITOROUS ACT AND COULD BE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
Operation: Wren Phoenix
Theatre: London, England
You have been selected for this operation based upon your previous record of service and your proficiency within your field. Due to your track record, you are ideally suited for a mission of utmost importance to be undertaken on behalf of the United Kingdom.
On February 13th, at 13:37 PM, a terrorist attack on the city resulted in the mass-evacuation of Greater London. During the evacuation, it became clear that a viral infection had contaminated much of the general public. The decision was made to end evacuation and change to isolation procedure. At 17:11, London was quarantined and a blockade erected around the outlying boroughs. As more of the general public attempted to leave, it was necessary to extend the boundaries and at the same time open fire on the infected public. By 22:49 the M25 circular had been turned into a barricade using the public vehicles and assembled resources. On the morning of February 14th at 03:32, London was declared lost and occupied by enemy forces.
Those evacuated were taken to centres in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, where they are being indefinitely detained until the nature of their infection can be determined. Air Traffic over London has been cancelled, and the third division infantry has been drafted to maintain the blockade of the city. Watch posts and cement walls were erected around the blockade, whilst the River is watched over by the Royal Naval forces, mostly stationed in Gravesend. Since the initial attack, there have been no further incidents.
Our government has been compromised; very few parliamentary representatives remain accounted for, including much of the defence cabinet. We have little to no real intelligence as to what occurred, nor do we have any real information as to the current state of the city itself. Our financial centres are in ruin; our county’s leadership is in tatters and our intelligence centres are compromised.
We need you to take part in a reconnaissance mission into the heart of London. You will be part of a 12 man team sent into the city to gather intelligence, retrieve sensitive information and rescue any important figures that may be encountered. You will be well-supplied during this mission, but, due to the possibility of contagion, you will be subject to the same quarantine that anyone else in the city is; at least until the infection has been ascertained. You will be required to procure additional supplies on site whilst establishing a drop zone for resupplies and the exchange of information.
Once the drop zone area has been established additional orders and objectives will be made apparent. You will be encouraged to organise your own survival and extended periods of time without immediate orders is to be expected, This mission is designated “independent operations”; you will have a degree of autonomy in your choice of actions and objectives.
Should you accept this mission, your family will be well reimbursed and your salary paid to you or your next of kin in triplicate for the next five years. Please reply with your application if you accept this request.
The City itself has been shrouded by a cloud of debris and gasses since the explosion itself. This smog has proven impenetrable by satellite observation or thermal imaging, leaving us with very little information about the site itself. Aerial photography and long range reconnaissance has proven similarly ineffective due to electronic interference. Our only images have been provided by low-flying aerial vehicles, giving us an overview of the city itself.
Sites of destruction include much of Holborn; the explosion has levelled much of the northern part of this district. Most of the City of Westminster appears to have suffered damage from small artillery fire. The majority of the city has fallen into disrepair; mass looting and vigilanteism is evident.
Mass grave sites have been detected throughout the city. It seems that much of the population present in the city during the initial attack has passed away, though accurate numbers are impossible. Several strange images have been recovered; curious flags have been seen flying outside of Westminster Hall and Buckingham Palace, whilst the docklands seem to be displaying constant electrical discharges. Curious thermal recordings have also been detected throughout Kensington.
Power and facilities have been cut; the city lacks power and fresh water. Food must be in very short supply, which may have lead to recent attempts by criminal insurgents to break the barricade in several areas, particularly in the southern boroughs. A Red Cross centre was seen erected near the Barbican Estate, yet recent photography suggests that this has been abandoned.
Please be aware that our information network is severely curtailed due to the initial assault and subsequent evacuation. The photos we have acquired are often distorted and difficult to interpret, whilst our usual imaging and surveillance technologies seem to be ineffective against the electro-magnetic disruption surrounding the city. You have just read the most accurate and up to date information available at this time.
Establish a secure base camp near the city of London, specifically in the Embankment area
Establish a secure drop zone with aerial access
Await further instructions
Gather information and intelligence as to the status of London and the origin of the terrorist attack.
Transport is supplied in the form of a Eurocopter Dauphin. Though confined to the city limits, this transport may be used to travel efficiently within it’s boundaries. Suggested insertion into the city is via the Southbank and Kensington in two fire-teams with air support.
Standard equipment is supplied in addition to specialist gear for specialist roles and additional surveillance equipment as befitting a Special Recon Regiment operative. Supplies will cover six days; on-site procurement will be necessary for additional food and water.
Military Personnel include:
Lance Corporal – Squad Commander
This role requires the ability to remain cool under pressure. Applicants need to show aptitude for settling disputes without resorting to violence. The squad leader will need to maintain squad morale and discipline, whilst making decisions that benefit the mission. A squad leader should have no personal area of weakness, being equally proficient in all areas.
A rifleman will be trained in a variety of battlefield roles, with proficiency in medium to long range assault weaponry. Riflemen must be equally adept at all battlefield roles and ready to use their initiative to overcome obstacles.
The squad will have provision for one Marksman. Applicants should be specialised in long range weaponry, battlefield surveillance and control and enemy awareness. A marksman should show aptitude when working independently from his unit.
The squad will have provision for one Heavy Support operative. Applicants should be specialised in automatic weapons, including light machine guns and medium to long range weaponry. A Support officer should also be proficient with anti-armour weaponry.
The Squad will have provisions for two Urban Assault specialists. Applicants should be specialised with short to medium range weaponry. Urban Assault specialists should be proficient with close quarters combat, including melee if necessary.
The squad will have provision for one Demolitions expert. Applicants should have extensive knowledge of demolitions and explosives. A specialist should also be proficient in battlefield fortification.
The squad will have provision for one battlefield medic. Applicants should be well trained in emergency surgery and triage under pressure. Applicants should also have strong battlefield experience.
The Squad has provision for one Pilot, who will be responsible for the Eurocopter. The applicant should be a specialised pilot with lots of battlefield experience and extensive knowledge of additional vehicles.
Consultants – these individuals must be either ex-military or battlefield trained civilians.
The squad has need of one Anthropological Consultant. Applicants need to have extensive knowledge of other cultures, including knowledge of multiple languages and cultural religion and mythology. Battlefield experience is also advised.
The squad has need of one Scientific Consultant. Applicants need to have extensive knowledge of biological and chemical science, preferable organic and viral disciplines. Battlefield is also advised.
The squad has need of one Engineering Consultant. Applicants need to have extensive mechanical and structural knowledge, particularly of London based architecture. Battlefield knowledge is also advised.
Applicants will be selected on a first come, first served basis and chosen based upon individual ability. Please contact your brigade commander at the earliest available opportunity. Please provide your written application and preference of role upon application.
Your country and your queen has need of you. The capital is occupied by an unknown enemy and our own resources are stretched thin. Your actions and participation in this campaign will lead to the safety and prosperity of the British Isles.
“Though our tragedy is great, our resolve is even greater.”
We await your response.