Gestapo Tactics

The following email exchange demonstrates some Player tenacity and some Keeper versatility. Andrew Leman wrote all the Carter Fawkes letters, and Sean Branney wrote all the other replies in different character voices. Sometimes a Keeper has to work both sides of the game at once, encouraging the Players with one hand and putting obstacles in their way with the other. Branney nimbly keeps the game action lively, and Leman and Branney entertain each other throughout with inside jokes, oblique references to mutual friends, and some improvisational details. This game was the first to make use of email as a means of character interaction, and this exchange alone shows how well it could work.


After reading agent Chris Neville’s case file on the Cthulhu Cult, agent Fawkes became deeply concerned that other people were at risk of self-mutilation/suicide in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Accordingly, he issued this bulletin...

Bulletin X0091-1-A

To All Southern California Law Enforcement Agencies, Rescue Teams, EMTs, and other Crisis Personnel

From Special Agent Carter Fawkes, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Long Beach

Re: Dismemberments

In connection with a death occuring in Los Angeles on 19 October, evidence has come to the FBI's attention of the potential for cases of ritual suicide by self-dismemberment in the next week leading up to Halloween.

All law enforcement, medical, and crisis personnel in Southern California are respectfully requested to apprise the Long Beach FBI office of any cases involving or suspected to involve such self-mutilation having taken place in the month of October as quickly as possible and/or as they occur. It is the goal of the FBI to prevent further such deaths through coordinating information. Your cooperation would be most greatly appreciated.

Please direct questions and/or information to SA Carter Fawkes and/or Special Agent Jillian Crowe, FBI, Long Beach.

Among several replies to this bulletin, came this email item....

Dear Agent Fawkes,

I don't imagine it could possibly be connected, but we had a most unfortunate suicide in our hospital on October 11. A patient, Dudley Van de Sloot, cut off four of his toes with a straight razor and bled to death. He was being treated for dissociative schizophrenia. We don't have any reason to suspect foul play.

Dr. J. Ritz,
Orange County Psychiatric Center

Fawkes made this polite reply....

Dr. Ritz,

Thank you for the information. Can you tell me how long Mr. Van de Sloot had been confined to your institution prior to his death? Had he had any visitors in the few weeks prior to his death? Can you give me any other specific information regarding his condition? I'm especially interested in knowing if he showed symptoms of aural hallucinations of any kind, and/or spoke of hearing a "call" or "calling." Did he sketch or doodle? If so, would it be possible for me to see any of his work in this regard?

Hope you can help.

Agent Fawkes, FBI, Los Angeles

Unfortunately, this was the next reply...

Sorry, Dr. Ritz has left on vacation yesterday. I'm afraid I am not at liberty to provide the information requested because of patient privacy issues. I'm sure you understand. I will have Dr. Ritz review you letter when she returns from her trip to the South Pacific. I hope El Niño doesn't get her. Ha, ha!

Carmen Amelia Abogado
Administrative Assitant
Orange County Psychiatric Center

Still trying to be polite, Fawkes answered....

Dear Ms. Abogado,

Thanks for your reply. I'm sad to hear that Dr. Ritz is away: this case is extremely serious and there are additional lives at stake. I understand your concerns for patient privacy; however, we may not be able to wait for Dr. Ritz to return from vacation to address these matters: I'm sure neither you nor Dr. Ritz would want to risk additional deaths which might be prevented by your cooperation.

When is Dr. Ritz scheduled to return? Does Mr. Van de Sloot have family I can contact, who could authorize you to give me information regarding his death in the meantime?

Your speedy reply would be most appreciated.

Agent Carter Fawkes, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles

Meanwhile, Fawkes sent this email to his partner, agent Crowe...

...Van de Sloot is a prime candidate. Now I'm even worried about Dr. Ritz and the remaining patients at the Orange County Psych Center. Hate to strongarm the assistant but now is not the time for bureacracy.

Anticipating difficulty from Abogado, Fawkes also wrote to an old friend from academy days...

Dear Quantico Mentor Who Admired Me So Much and Took Me Under His/Her Wing and Would Never Scold Me For Not Knowing Legal Procedures But Just Chuckle Warmly and Say "Oh Fawkes, You Never Could Play By The Rules,"

Would a search warrant be sufficient for gaining access to otherwise confidential psychiatric patient records, and if I got one could I go to the Orange County Psychiatric Center and look over anything I wanted to (if I sincerely suspected it might be related to our case)?

(In my whole investigative career I've never had the option of obtaining a search warrant before, so I'm not sure what they're good for)

P. S. How are Pat and the kids?

Carter Fawkes

Fawkes’ mentor responded....

My dearest Fawkes,

You know, in all my years of being that Very Special Mentor to those Extraordinary Young Agents in Training here at Quantico, I've never met one who displayed so much promise as you. If only you could have brought yourself to display the proper respect for authorities. Kids today...

Anyway, if you think back to my 11th lecture in Injunctions and Court Orders (FBI 273), you should recall that a Federal Court Judge can issue a warrant to subpoena psychiatric and legal records which would otherwise be protected by attorney-client priviledge or other such hoo-ha. Its notoriously difficult to get such approval, but you might try Federal District Court Judge Ruha and see if she's willing to authorize such an action. I think she's at She's stern but fair. Odd combination for a judge, if you ask me.

Best regards,

S. Pimpernel
Mentor, FBI Academy, Quantico

PS Pat is feeling so much better now. Its amazing what they can do with reconstructive surgery. Oh, and she sends her thanks for the recipe; its one of her faves!

Sadly, Ms. Abogado did prove to be difficult, as her next reply indicates....

Agent Fawkes,

I appreciate your concern, but my hands are tied. Not literally, of course. How could I be typing this? Silly me. Anyway, as Dr. Ritz just left for her South Pacific tour, she wont be back for two weeks. It will be difficult to reach her on the ship, although she's promised to call in from Togo and Bali. She's very excited about getting to see Kwajelin.

The hospital is embarrassed that this patient was able to get ahold of a scalpel with his condition and faces potentially serious malpractice litigation. Its prudent that I say no more. I'm sure you understand.

Ms. Abogado

Knowing Judge Ruha’s reputation and feeling sure he could get his warrant, Fawkes adopted a more combative tone....

Dear Ms. Abogado,

The hospital's culpability in the case of Mr. Van de Sloot does not concern me. I am seeking only to save the lives of innocent people who may be in danger. I'm sure neither you, nor Dr. Ritz, nor the hospital would want to bear even the slightest responsibility for contributing to additional deaths that you might have been able to prevent.

Time is of the essence in my inquiry, and I do not wish to waste any of it obtaining a search warrant. However, if you refuse to cooperate I will obtain one and examine your records under less friendly circumstances.

I know that you're only trying to do your job and that you are in a very difficult position. And I'm deeply sympathetic. I hope you can understand that I'm only trying to do my job as well. Following the rules is always safe, but not always wise. I look forward to your speedy help in this very serious matter.

Agent Carter Fawkes, FBI

Additional email exchanges were not possible due to the tight playing schedule, however, the Keeper and the Player summarily finished the correspondence this way....

Player: ...I would have made a mildly threatening phone call to Ms. Abogado and attempted to persuade her once again that giving me the few small answers I want would be far preferable for everyone than me having to get a search warrant. I hope I would have (and yet may) succeed in softening her up. But if the phone call went/goes badly, I would write to Judge Ruha for a search warrant.

Keeper: Ms. Abogado seems to be a staunch republican, and has taken the notion that you are some kind of jack-booted thug hellbent on taking away her freedom, independence, privacy and guns. She says she won't let you turn this into another Ruby Ridge.

Judge Ruha has a top clerk working on writing up your warrant.

The speedy resolution of the case rendered further hounding of Ms. Abogado irrelevant, sadly, just as Agent Fawkes was dusting off his government-issued brass knuckles. When the game was over, Leman wrote to the Keeper...

And I haven't forgotten Ms. Abogado. Of course, officially, I'd like to proceed with the search warrant. Unofficially, I'd like to run a complete background and credit check on her, tap her phone, I'd like to have uniformed officers follow her constantly, and I'd like to surreptitiously enter her home and rearrange the magazines on her coffee table. That last trick I'd like to do three or four times until she's really really nervous. Then, depending on how things go, I might want to haul her downtown and ask her a few questions, and I'm considering filing charges of obstruction of justice and interfering with a Federal investigation.

Branney finished her off with this reply...

As for Abogado, after the second time she found her copy of McCall's on top of her copy of Ladies' Home Journal, she became outraged by the government conspiracy and fired shots out her window at a neighbor's schnauzer. Currently, local law enforcement are engaged in a standoff with her.