It was a cheerful, bright sunny day as Aldric, Jorge, Manfred, and Butenko enjoyed a leisurely ride in the back of a tarpped flat-bed truck. Unfortunately, they shared the ride with 4 German soldiers – oh, and they were now prisoners of war.
Other than that, their spirits were high as they chatted with one soldier that spoke English and seemed unusually sympathetic and kind. They exchanged cigarettes and made arrangements to trade goods, once they had all arrived at their destination: a shiny new Stalag in East Germany.
They were required to make one stop on the way: a transfer station where they would refuel and pick up more travelers for the journey. They were led to a small building with beds along the wall and a furnace in the center that kept the room toasty warm. Four other guests were already in the room, and Butenko overheard them discussing plans for escape. Fearing such an attempt might upset the Germans, Butenko warned Aldric, the Major, who quickly took charge of the situation, asserting his authority and strategic knowledge, convincing them that they needed to wait for a more opportune time – a time when they had equipment and supplies to succeed in making it to friendly ground.
Shortly thereafter, the players discussed plans for obtaining one needed supply – a German officer uniform. Unfortunately, attempts to procure one failed. So, they all went to sleep and dreamed of lazy days and sunshine.
The morning was beautiful, as the eight captives loaded into the back of the truck and headed toward the new Stalag. As they approached in the truck they could see … nothing, because of the tarps. However, as the truck entered the compound, they could see the beautiful new gates and shiny barbed wire topped chain link fencing. A small knee-high wire strung across posts separated a 10 foot wide border between the camp and the fencing that enclosed it. On the wire, at intervals, was a wooden sign that cheerfully read: “Do not cross this line, or you will be shot and killed!” The text had very thoughtfully been written in multiple languages.
The Commandant introduced himself and set the new prisoners at ease, telling them that they could stay as long as they want through the end of the war, and they would be given all the amenities guaranteed to them by the Geneva Convention. If they grew restless, they could simply cause a disturbance and they would be rewarded with a full day of special treatment in the Enhanced Punishment building. “I can’t tell you exactly what happens there,” the Commandant apologized, “for it is beyond the boundaries of my jurisdiction. But I will say that one day should be plenty of time to relieve your boredom.” For those longing for home, escape was also something they could attempt. However, it would most likely result in their deaths. “So, if no one has any question, guards: please show them to their new quarters.”
The players asked enough questions to learn that most of the buildings were segregated into nationalities. So, they split up to visit their respective comrades and gain information about the camp.
Jorge visited the Scandinavians, who were quite pleasant, the Lieutenant resting comfortably on his bed enjoying a delicious sausage. “Yes, everything’s nice here. Good food, and we even get to play volley ball. Only wish the Russians next door weren’t so rowdy! They’re always shouting and fighting late at night, and then being escorted to the Enhanced Punishment building.”
“Yes, those darn Russians,” Jorge agreed, and thought – “but what a pleasant place this seems to be.” ☺
The French, however, were very distraught. “I’ve been here 2 years,” the Sargent told Aldric “before they built this new camp”. “Tried to escape several times, but it’s never worked out. If only we had a 13mm camera – then we could finish these counterfeit IDs and surely be able to make our escape then.”
Manfred headed to the American/European buildings. He barged in so as to not startle them with any polite mannerisms, and walked directly up to the man in charge. They had little more information to add, and acted like typical Americans: brash, rude, and bad mouthing the French.
Butenko headed off to the Polish building. Unfortunately, they did not speak English and he did not speak Polish – so he learned very little from them. Keeping his spirits up, he headed to the Russians. He knocked, and the door was answered by a skittish Russian with blood-red eyes and a panicked look. Butenko asked him several questions, to which the Russian replied in depth. However, Butenko did not speak Russian, and the Russian did not speak English – so, again, he learned little of value.
The players all met back at their new home to share notes, discuss their day, and talk about their feelings.
It is 1943, September 3nd. 15:00, (3pm)