Security Leak

By Moe Lane (


Soldiers of God often have to work out their own security arrangements. Celestials usually don't need to encode messages (often, they don't even need to write them down), but their servants do, for strictly corporeal activities. As Soldiers usually don't have a budget, the latest high-tech toys are effectively unavailable, unless they're lucky enough to work for Jean, Litheroy, Marc or Zadkiel.

It would seem that one particular group of Soldiers of Laurence have gone back to the old standard of one time pads for their most secret information. One-time pads, for those who don't know, are essentially a one-time encryption method: the message is enciphered normally, then further encrypted with a random code key (previously handed off to the person getting and the person receiving the message). Someone who wishes to decode the message would need the key - and, as each code key would (theoretically) only be used once, there would be no way to gather enough of a sample to do so. Besides, even deciphering one message wouldn't help decipher the others.

All that's assuming that the keys are a), only used once, and b), truly random. It would seem that neither is true, in this case. The Soldiers have gotten sloppy and reused pads (always a problem with this form of encryption): worse, they haven't destroyed them. Careful gleaning of the area (read: "dumpster diving") has revealed just enough of the sheets to make decoding practical - and, better and better, the idiots weren't using truly random groupings. They were using the names of Saints on the Catholic calendar, coupled with enough null letters to make the code groups come out to ten characters (ex: 'ONESIMUSX').

In other words, the forces of Hell are now able to read these guys' mail, and what an interesting bit of reading it is, indeed. Among other things, it would seem that they've got a safe house that's used for hiding out Renegades that want to Redeem: in fact, three days from now they're supposed to get a couple of demons who are on one of Asmodeus little lists. Properly done, this should be easy - and, of course, a slaughter.

The PCs should be coming in at this point: it's unlikely that they've got any experience in cryptography (if one of them does, by all means, involve him or her), so they get to play muscle. Let them have all the shotguns, hand grenades, and/or body armor that they want. The safe house is actually an old, semi-abandoned military bunker, so actually getting in might be a hassle: the best bet would be to wait until the transfer is taking place, then sweep through and blow the place up. It's out in the desert / plains / tundra / whatever, so you can be loud. The PCs even get to bring along a few Calabim bruisers to add muscle. This is almost too easy.

Well, yeah.

Did I mention that the Soldiers of Laurence were all career military, and that their commander (both of them and of the military base) had a whole bunch of munitions that were approaching the end of their useful date? Or that it's fairly stupid to think that even humans would go through the trouble of creating a one-time pad, and then make the entire thing moot by using a non-random code key? Or that, just because you believe in the ideals of the Sword, that you have to be a damned fool about it?

At any rate, the PCs will need all the help that they can get, because the second that they get within range, the entire 'transfer area' will immediately become practically drenched with .30 machine-gun fire. They'll be detected long before they get within range, of course: the Soldiers have been running this operation for about six weeks now, and the celestial detectors (borrowed from Jean) will give the humans plenty of warning. If the PCs make it through the killing ground, well, that's when the minefields (if they're retreating) or the flame-thrower squads (if advancing) get activated. If they get through that, well, there's a few grinning Malakim of the Sword and War waiting in the inner sanctum ... and no Renegades.



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EDG <>
In Nomine Collection Curator