Well, we got up bright and (far too) early on Sunday to go and show Oxford how vulnerable they are. Or at least, some of us got up bright and early, while others lay in bed due to a supposed alarm clock malfunction. Anyway, after much sleepy wandering around and waiting for people, we finally set off.
We found the Oxford perimeter defences to be unusually strong, but pathetically inaccurate. Somewhere near Milton Keynes, a bomber flew overhead and dropped paratroopers ahead of our APC. Unfortunately, they missed the motorway and landed instead in a quicksand, which had been cunningly position by our vanguard, in anticipation of just such a manoeuvre. The bomber came around for a second offense, delivering a deadly nerve gas, but the attackers failed to anticipate The Man's deviously cunning sabotage of his own vehicle ventilation system to prevent chemical/biological attacks. Finally, a blimp was released to fly over and, we must assume, deliver a payload of bombs, but due to a mis-anticipation of the wind speed, it ended up behind us and was never seen again.
Upon our arrival, we carefully concealed our transport from the enemy intelligence in a car-park, and proceeded to distribute weaponary about the party. This took a long time, for we had packed an awful lot of munitions. We then split into two squads, The A-Team and ze KGB (Kambridge-B), in order to maximise our impact and spread counter-intelligence. Here are their stories...
Two years ago, a crack assassination unit was sent to University by a Proctor's court for a crime they didn't commit. These operatives promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Cambridge underground. Today, still wanted by the college authorities, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...
The elite forces of The Man from the Ministry, The Cultural Attaché, The Parliamentary Ombudswoman, The Obvious Goth, and The Raven launch the offensive against the outlying enemy installations and their chain of command...
The Obvious Goth and The Raven cover the corridor while the rest of the team prepare a bomb for the target's door.
Some civilians spot the team at work...
"Oh, should we tell Alex he's got assassins outside his door?"
Damn, they were loud, he's probably heard them. Never mind, switch to plan B. Everyone aims at the door, while The Cultural Attaché rushes to get the bomb ready, and The Man From The Ministry places a little something on the spyhole.
"Oooomph. Who is it?"
"You're gonna die, boy."
"Oh are you Cambridge? I'm not playing you know."
"Oh... c'mon and come out here like a man."
"I did say I was not to be disturbed."
At which point The Cultural Attaché and shrugs and removes the bomb he just attached to Alex's door.
"Ah well, never mind then. Goodbye."
There is much turning around and walking down the corridor, whilst The Man goes to remove the thing on the peephole... at the same time as the door swings opens. Alex charges out, wearing nothing but a bathrobe and wielding a massive club. The closest assassin avoids his attack, and then the would-be Conan is terminated with extreme prejudice by The Man's revolver, The Goth's akimbo guns, Dave's rifle, The Raven's heavy crossbow and other assorted weaponry.
The Soviet operatives Nigel, Islington, The Thribblemaster, Vladimir Shothizhedkleenoff, and Ian Yeung launch a blitzkrieg attack, taking to the streets of central Oxford in their quest to rid the city of all opposition. First off is a visit to Worcester, followed by Oriel and Lincoln Colleges...
"Hi, it's Nigel."
The door opens.
"Hi, it's Nigel."
"I don't believe you. You're an assassin aren't you?"
The door opens a fraction... Enough for a hand with a semiautomatic to be inserted through the gap. The door closes on the wrist. Then fatal projectiles drop down over the top of the door, to be followed by a knife to the forehead.
"Hi, it's... um... The Christian Union."
"I don't believe you."
"Fine, OK, we're here to kill you."
Nasty gas enters the room, and another soul misses out on eternal salvation.
"Hi, it's Nigel."
"Nigel Harris. I'm here to make friends with you."
"OK, wait a moment for me to dress."
The door opens, revealing someone with a semiautomatic peashooter. Five darts rip into his chest and twelve bands bounce off a significant proportion of his anatomy. He's dead.
Ze doorknobskwi ked as ve enter ze open room. So Vladimir vaste ze alerted Kamarade Rimmer inztantly wiz ve kalashnikov from Maz-kva. Zees depleted Yuranium slugz eez good vay of dizpozingov Nuklearvazte in Linkolnkollegeundergrad akkomodation. Ve Russki keep our decommizioning kommitments unlike ze vestern kapitalizt blok in ze poztkoldvar vorld.
Two voices are heard in Andrew's room. A small dilemma presents itself...
Nigel and Ian enter the room:
"Hi, I'm looking for Andy."
The Kremlin spokesman has to say:
Viz Linkolnkollegeundergrad Kompletely Kremated, ze KGB agents vere given newkamarades for ze tvinkrakdownov Hildakollegeundergrad and President Ghanesh's hedkvarterz.
Which is to say that the A-Team rendezvoued with The Thribblemaster in order to effect the criminal master plot to kill Ganesh Sittampalam. Meanwhile, KGB, having gained the elusive cunning of The Parliamentary Ombudswoman and the master marksmanship of hitman The Raven, prepare to storm the Hildabeasts' fortress...
The door opens.
Nobody is in Kristina's room. But two female voices are heard in the other Joanne's room. What luck could this be?
"Yep! Come in!"
And so they do, after The Ombudswoman throws a grenade in the room. A scream of "They're coming for us!" pierces the air. (How curious - not "for me" but "for us" - could this mean two targets in one room? Maybe, but it certainly means two corpses!) One of them hides in the closet - Ian cleaves her legs from her body with a lightsabre and The Raven leaves no room for argument with a crossbow bolt between her eyes. The other girl screams still, but is swiftly silenced by a revolver shot to the head. The hitmen are pretty certain the grenade killed at least one of the Oxfrod pair, but there's nothing wrong with making sure!
Involving a discussion about lying convincingly and some rubber bands...
(With heavy foreign accents on the part of the assassins, and all sunglasses and trenchcoats removed.)
"We're looking for Natalia."
"Er... Yes, she's living here, top floor."
"Thanks, may we come in?"
"Uhm... I suppose... Yes..."
In they proceed. A few seconds later...
"Wait a minute please. She's just left a note. She's not here today."
(Strange, sounds like she's hiding something, or is very concerned about something.)
"Yes, listen: I won't be here today until 3 o'clock. Tell people who are looking for me to leave a message. Thanks."
"Oh we see. That's not very convenient. Anyway, we'll come back later, we absolutely have to organise this international dinner."
"Yes. It will take us more time than planned, but well... Goodbye."
The assassins leave. Five seconds later, the neighbour calls us back:
"Wait, wait! In fact she's in. It's just a mistake on my part. The note is from Kate, not Nate."
"Oh thanks, you save us troubles you know. Where is Natalia's room?"
"Thank you very much."
The door opens.
"I've got a thing called a spyhole. Maybe as you're from Cambridge you don't understand this?"
"In Kambridge, we've dezigned a bombzatgoezoff if people look throughzeirkeyhole. Sadly ve have none here." sayeth Vladimir, as Nigel attaches a tilt-sensitive bomb to David's door. The door swings open and David opens fire, killing Nigel... but as he closes the door behind his retreat from the wrathful retribution of zee KGB, he twists the doorknob. Past the critical angle...
(Credits to Vladimir for plotting this technical kill and to the Thribblemaster for building this device.)
The first stage in the elimination of Ganesh (The Oxford Assassins' President) involved the squad making contact with an old acquaintance of The Thribblemaster - Magdalen College's junior computer representative. It just so happens that Ghanesh is senior computer rep - what a coincidence! Thanks to the long-running saga of oneupmanship between the junior and senior reps, the insider and his friends were easily induced to help arrange Ganesh's demise. Plans were formulated and readied. Amusingly, the wiretap of Ghanesh's IRC channel showed a constant stream of panicked messages from Oxford assassins - all of which were mysteriously cut off partway through.
Whilst the double-agents plotted, the A-Team decided to assault another committee member; as it neared the victim's residence, the squad had reason to believe it was being tailed. Following their best instincts, the assassins dived into a public house, wherefrom they emerged inconspicuously. The Obvious Goth and The Cultural Attaché proceeded to enter the victim's house, but the remainder of the squad were taken from behind by a vicious wave of paranoia, and ran down several twisting alleys, through numerous pubs, and over many barbed wire fences in the mistaken belief that they were again being followed.
Letting their colleages shake off the pursuit, the two operatives make their way up to the Treasurer's lair.
There is loud music coming from inside; the situation is optimal for the application of explosives.
While the Obvious Goth stands guard, the Attaché prepares the bomb, and checks the door. Unbelievably, it's unlocked! A hasty rearmourment ensues, then the door is thrown open, to reveal the target sitting with the back to the door, typing on his computer and in a textbook. In a classic textbook manoeuvre, upwards of twenty rubber bands find themselves nestling among the incautious assassin's remains — just punishement for his lack of paranoia.
When the assassins examined the computer, his last words were found preserved on the ICQ channel:
"I couldn't find the Cambridge people. Maybe they have gon..."
It seems that each time one of his fellow 'assassins' had been killed, Mr. Owen (RIP) had sprinted to the scene of crime with his CPS 2000, and each time had missed the Cambridge agents by just a few minutes.
Having regrouped, we headed back to our inside agent's house. By this point, the plan was finalised: system shutdown would be induced on the Magdalen mail and IRC server, and Ganesh (as the only person able to obtain access to the hardware) would be forced to come and reboot... and find us waiting. This two pronged plan would also cut the enemy's communication links, to prevent anyone coming to assist the victim. We love it when a plan comes together...
With the server down, the team quickly removed itself to the ambush site, and concealed itself in many inconspicuous ways. The Man From The Ministry and The Thribblemaster took up position in the library, though which Ganesh would have to pass, reading respectively "A Collection of Post-Mortems from The Spanish Inquisition" and "Electronic Warfare", whilst The Obvious Goth and The Cultural Attaché secreted themselves in the darkened staircase leading up to the server room.
Presently, Ganesh turned up, and having spent several minutes carefully stalking around outside - clearly, the
decision not to hide behind the tempting, but obvious, 4ft hedges was wise. His suspicions finally abated, he entered
the library and then the corridor, sealing his fate. The librarians closed in behind him as the trap was sprung...
Thus did end the life of the President of the Oxford Assassins' guild.
Matt Laycock being the one who kicked the bucket on our side. Of those Oxford assassins we knew of, every one perished, barring only one who were out of town, two who lived in a college whose porters behaved more like bouncers, and one who was in hospital at the time - although we did leave a small explosive device so that he wouldn't feel left out. In short, we kicked rightous ass.
A truce was called, and the dead were resurrected to take part in phase two...
We had planned to use the University Parks, but the park rangers were somewhat concerned about our titanic pile of water weapons, and requested that we go elsewhere. There was little option but to revisit the site of the last Varsity Match Duel - a narrow strip of land next near the river, sandwiched between private fields and a stagnant swamp. Oxford could only field five participants in the duel (along with a pair of photographers and the junior computer reps) and so it was decided that Cambridge would be split into two teams. Oxford, Cambridge A and Cambridge B would fight it out in a three way shoot out. Ed "Vladimir" Anderson would umpire, tastefully kitted out in his Russian General's uniform.My team was the under-manned strike team B, consisting of: Alex "Psycho Assault" Cairns as CPS-3000 wielder and general intimidator of the opposition. Bjoern "Sneak Around in the Bushes" Holzhauer as handler of fine CPS-1000 weaponry and general irritator of the opposition. Ed "Stand Just Out of Range" Nokes as CPS-1000 controller and general provocateur of the opposition. Dave "Artillery Support" Hammond as XP-70 and Storm operator, lobber of countless grenades and generally not spotted by the opposition. Our initial strategy was "Advance slowly, wait for them to attack each other, then pick off the survivors once we have equal numbers". So we did this. Unfortuately, I found out at this point that attempting to move quickly with six grenades in each leg pocket is quite difficult. If you imagine an elephant trying to run in a space-suit, using stilts, you'll get the rough idea. We advanced for quite a while without seeing anyone, moving spare weaponry (lightsabres, etc.) up with us. After about five minutes, we caught sight of the fluorescent yellow of Ghanesh's weaponry. We then saw him having his leg taken out at range by Mario "I-don't-look-like-an-obvious-assassin-with-my-shades-and-this long-black-coat" Sainz-Martinez using the CPS-2000. He hopped around for a while, then made a deranged psycho assault on someone in Squad A, resulting in both of them dying. After that brief display of resistance, the rest of Oxford were put to death, mostly out of our sight, by Squad A; and were left to consider the evils of coming to a Duel with inadequate weaponry. So the two Cambridge Squads were left even, with four men apiece. Several light skirmishes were made by both sides, with Matt "Stand on the path and stare at the opposition" Laycock taking pot-shots at Alex Cairns, and vice-versa. Mario lurked in the background taking the occasional shot at Bjoern with the CPS-1k. Meanwhile, Claire "Crawl through the shrubbery" Bordenave kept advancing and retreating, with Bjoern doing likewise, while I lobbed a few grenades at anyone I could see, most of which were foiled by high branches. Helen "I may be on crutches but I'm still vicious" Walker was nowhere to be seen, while Ed stayed behind Alex and looked menacing, o c c a s i o n a l l y firing on Matt. Eventually, Alex managed to take out Matt's leg with the CPS-3k, causing to hop around in a rather funny way. I found a relatively branchless area, and lobbed a grenade very close to Matt, causing him to almost hop into the Thames to avoid it. T he next bit was quite confusing - it would seem that Matt was taken out by Alex in a psychotic charge, who then turned his gun on the nearby Helen. Simultaneously, I scored a direct hit on Helen at range with a grenade, provoking applause from the audience. Even Bjoern claims to have hit her too, though we're not too sure about this. Regrettably, Alex was cut down by Matt's death-throes, so me, Bjoern and Ed were left to fight Mario and Claire. I decided that the grenades were weighing me down too much, so I lobbed most of them from out of sight in Mario's direction. Claire, Bjoern and Ed took turns to creep into the dense shrubbery patch, hide for a while, then sneak out again. Mario wandered about, watching for incursions. Eventully, I depleted the grenade supply, and drew the XP-70 and Storm, and also lurked in the dense shru bbery. After a while, either Bjoern or Ed (I couldn't see) took out the low-on-ammo Mario, leaving just Claire to defend against the three of us. We decided on the "CHARGE!" option, and Claire ended up being knobbled more-or-less simultaneously by all three of us. So the fight finally ended with us winning - Ed, Bjoern and I being the only ones present to have survived the whole day. As is customary, we then went and soaked everyone, especially Claire (for no apparrent reason), Bjoern (for any reason we felt like), and Alex (mostly for vindictive vengeful reasons). We split up, and half of us stayed for food, drink, and plenty of discussion about kills, attempts, silly/interesting/cunning weaponry, and other assassin-y stuff. Eventually, we went home, the return journey only punctuated by several people flashing (their lights) at Ed.
The Man from the Ministry decided upon a five-shot revolver with spare clip, a pair of subtle stilettos, an XP-70 and some throwing hedgehogs. The Thribblemaster took the oh-so-concealable five-way Nerf Gun, a sword, an XP-70, and some of his mysterious lego contraptions. The Raven partook of the Big Bad Bow, and I can't remember the rest. Needless to say, all operatives stocked up with countless quantities of throwing knives and rubber bands.