Achtung! Cthulhu: The Secret War
Captain Sterling Bretz
Up-and-coming young officer with a bit of an explosive side...
Name: Rangi “Sterling” Bretz
Occupation: Army Engineer
Nationality : New Zealand
Trait: Scientific Mind
STR 50 DEX 70 INT 75 CON 80
SIZ 65 APP 65 POW 70 EDU 60
SAN: 83 Hit Points: 29
Damage Bonus: 0
Skills: Combat Engineer 65%, Close Combat 43%, Command 41%, Credit Rating 36%, Cthulhu Mythos 12%, Demolitions 71%, Drive 30%, Electrical Repair 50%, Fighting (Brawl) 60%, First Aid 31%, Handgun 65%, Heavy Weapons 64%, Jury Rig 33%, Library Use 26%, Listen 33%, Military Doctrine 22%, Mechanical Repair 90%, Natural World 20%, Operate Heavy Machinery 32%, Other Language: German 2%, Rifle 60%, Spot Hidden 71%, Stealth 68%, Tactics 51%, Throw 65%.
Weapons: Bayonet, 36M Hand Grenades, Standard Charges, Flamethrower, Lee Enfield Rifle, Webley Service Revolver
Mythos Encounter: This “thing” you had, or still have…
A large picture in the front room showed a strange landscape. Your father was given it by a close friend, and he hung it out of reach above the fireplace. Sometimes as the firelight flickered you could have sworn that you saw movement, and one day you climbed up to get a closer look. You slipped on the mantelpiece and almost fell, when a dark hand grabbed you from out of the painting. You shuddered as the shadow retreated just as suddenly back into the trees in the picture. Now the picture lies rolled up in your case. You haven’t looked at it since. Where do you think the scene in the picture is? What saved you that night? Why didn’t you leave the picture at home when you left?
Rangi packed quickly, cramming rolled clothing, drafting journals and tools alike into his case – he’d been called away with little information, with great urgency, and was keen to get underway before he had time to overthink it. Nothing to do but get out and get going, he thought, trying to fit just a few more detonators (some special jobs, hobby pieces, really, nothing the Major need know about). He was caught on something, though, some rumple of fabric or roll of paper, or… canvas. Rangi’s hand stilled, fingers pressed to the soft, heavy fabric hiding deep at the bottom of his effects. He had not looked at it since he’d left home, had taken it from the mantel, pried off the frame, pulled the tacking from its stretcher bars, and stuffed it almost unceremoniously into his bag – trying to obscure that feeling he’d had, minimize the importance the painting held. His parents had said nothing, pretended to not notice its absence as they embraced one last time.
It was by the sea – a tempestuous sky, dark roiling waves flecked with foam – the cliffs a sheer, craggy plunge to more rock, outstretched fingers waiting below.
A gift from Lt. Smythe, his uncle, practically, who’d said he’d found it in his travels – but what possessed him to gift it to Rangi’s father? It was masterfully painted, yes – you could almost feel the rocking of the ocean, feel the wind whipped from your brow – but the room was darker for it, truly, despite the size of the fire in its place beneath. A stoic piece, his father chuckled, but without a smile in his eyes. The Lieutenant had insisted they keep it, had so adamantly pressed it upon them, speaking lowly of its deep meaning to him… it had cost him so dearly. Please. He had seemed pained to part with it, but seemed more pained, still, to have his gift refused. Perhaps it was only the pain of his wasting disease, for he did not last long after that visit…
At first Rangi couldn’t see what made it so special. Until that day, a teetering chair, an icy hand, those long fingers – he shuddered involuntarily, the chill sweeping up his arm. Even in dreams, now, falling, he never landed – he was always caught. Dread filled his gut at the thought of what impossibly strong form must lay at the other end of that arm… but more dread at the thought of being released, being allowed to fall. Somehow, whatever repulsion he felt for that iron grip, that rubbery skin, Rangi knew that its favor was far more desirable than not. Best to keep your friends close…
“Cap’n Bretz,” a voice called from the doorway, “they’re ready for you.” Pulled back to the present, he shivered once, then buried the painting once again. For now. Shouldered his bag and stepped out towards the light.