3. A.LF.I.E.S Command Staff

This is the page to feature the senior members of ALFIES with whom the player characters will have frequent contact with as non player characters.


ALFIES Chief of Staff – Marceau Cairns

Marceau is a thick set, even jowly man with a swallow complexion courtesy of his mother and in his late 40s. His raven wing hair is rich and dark with a rapidly whitening widow’s peak. He uses half moon spectacles when reading and often has a short ‘bookies’ pencil behind one ear and a spare cigarette behind the other. In the office he tends to wear a cutaway black morning coat over a tight matching black waistcoat over formal striped trousers and Chelsea boots. Outside he frequently wears black leather gloves, a grey Abercrombie overcoat and a homburg hat. If at the front he’ll don anything khaki or resurrect some old fawn tweeds in order to fit in with the men. For simultaneous relaxation & concentration he smokes dutifully – Turkish tobacco roll-ups when he can get them but will settle for anything, for relaxation he enjoys savouring a malt or Irish whiskey but never to excess.  He carries a .32 browning in his waistcoat watch pocket (he favours a wristwatch), a .38 special revolver in a shoulder rig balanced out by a dagger under the other arm pit and at least one agent has seen him with a switchblade tucked in the top of his boot. Usually for a ‘bigwig’ when near the front he is often seen carrying a rifle (and subsequently is less likely to get attention from snipers.)

He never takes the same route twice between 2 locations, he never travels without at least one ‘heavy’ and never sleeps in the same location for more than one night per week. He maintains rooms above the ‘Hole in Wall’ pub on the other side of Town hall as well as a cot bed in his Office in Martins bank, a berth in the backrooms of Liverpool Central Library, at least 4 ‘safe houses’ and at least two mistresses, though these relationships might be described more as business than pleasure .

The product of a Ulster Scots father and a Huguenot French mother Marceau McGuiness as a bright young man studied for the bar following a 1st at Oxford. His legal training was cut short by the tulmot of the Great War and he found himself as a subaltern in the 16th Irish Division where his experience of the Catholic-Nationalist enlisted men modified his doctrinaire views on the Union and Irish Home Rule. He survived the Somme and his  talent for languages found him a staff position that eventually resulted in ‘special service’ in the Anglo-French Mixed Bureau that carried out intelligence operations behind German lines in occupied France and Belgium, To avoid service in the Irish War of Independence Cairns worked in Russia working with the famous Reilly ‘Ace of Spies’ and with British Spy vessels peddling agents in the Baltic where he developed a talent for Russian and a working knowledge and suspicion of Bolsheviks.

In the 1920s he joined the Palestinian Gendarmerie (later Police Force) as one of the British Officers commanding the mixed Jewish & Arab constabulary. His intelligence background led to him running agents in the mandated territory that Britain ruled on behalf of the League of Nations.  This involved operating spies within both Arab and Zionist nationalist terrorist and paramilitary groups.  Attempts on his life promoted another change of occupation and Cairns returned to the UK, based in the Home Counties completed his studies for the bar and was called to Chambers. After the excitement of the spy game Cairns proved an inattentive and shoddy Barrister and parted company from his chambers. He found a new lease of life taking a combination of pro-bono and modestly paid work for the poor, dispossessed, trade unions and the like in Liverpool where the Irish/Ulster community felt a little like home (although it never had been.) Running his Practice on a shoe string  Cairns found it useful to recruit ‘irregulars’(street urchins and scallywags) who could keep him informed on goings on in the City and provide tits bits which could overturn cases. With his Intelligencer background Cairns wasn’t above using blackmail and intimidation where it could service justice for his clients.

With Edward VIII call to Mosley to form a government – Cairns had no doubt where his loyalty lay – with the Free City.  A.L.F.I.E.S. was very much Cairns idea and his contacts with the Left, the Irish and other immigrant groups as well as with the Anglican establishment of the City meant he was an ideal person to head up some an instruction. Someone all factions trusted…or at least distrusted to an equal degree. As well as ALFIES he still has his network of ‘Irregulars’ within the city as well as the ear of Mayor Walpole,

Cairns is a versatile spy master and has a wealth of field experience and is a practiced politicians and barrister. Despite his age and appearance he is fit and has a considerable talent for languages. He has not stayed active for this long without a significant degree of paranoia – and luck

(non-player character)


ALFIES Quartermaster – Gordon Bruce

Bruce is the Grandson of Frank Hornby the entrepreneur who founded the Meccano and Hornby train empire via his daughter Patricia Hornby (who in the real world died in 1913 aged 14) Born in 1919 even as a nipper he was excited by the Binns Road Meccano factory floor, the board room but most of all from the creations he would develop with his Meccano sets. To the disappointment of his father and pride of his Grandfather Bruce from an early age showed an eagerness not to merely get his feet under the table of the family firm but to be an entrepreneur and an inventor. He also showed no interest in formal learning given a wide reading program of self study.

After an expulsion from exclusive local public school Merchant Taylors for running a cheaper and better quality underground tuck shop and his expulsion from Birkenhead Boys School for similar entrepreneurial activity (this time involving French postcards,) Bruce was set up at the age of 16 with a small sum of capital and established his so called ‘Dragon’s Den’ in Hawarden, North Wales where he has been cultivating boffins and self-taught inventors to bring him the future patents. His Grandfather got 50% of the equity for providing the capital and when he died in 1936 this was placed in trust for Bruce’s descendents. 

Unfortunately the turn of history meant that with the Constitutional Crises the atmosphere in North Wales turned against ‘Sais’ entrepreneurs and Bruce escaped with a handful of boffins to Liverpool. He put himself at the Mayors service marshalling his ‘Heath-Robinsons’ as Ciarns calls them into developing such thing as:

  • Mechanical ‘pendulums & periscope combinations’ to automatically sweep machine guns across a field of fire while the operators from cover can fire them by an electronic buttons.
  • Invisible silk maps which only reveal there images if exposed to urine.
  • Watches with extendable garrotte wire.
  • Poison tipped umbrellas.

Being experimental, a lot of Bruce’s team’s inventions are not suited for use in the field by heavy handed militia men but Ciarns gave him a home. More important to Cairns than his gadgets is the contacts Bruce has within the merchant and academic classes of Liverpool. Bruce has not only inherited his Grandfathers opportunity to spot an invention but also his talent for making a deal and as a result ALFIES secures supplies that would surprise a many a struggling militia.

Bruce is no socialist but he despises nationalism of any kind – partly shaped by his experience of Welsh nationalists. He jokingly refers to his research team as the ‘Capitalist International’   but can restrain his contempt when forced to deal with IRA or Welsh Nationalist or other ‘excessively patriotic’ as he terms them allies of Liverpool. This contempt turns to hatred when looking at the actions of the Mosley Regime.

Bruce is 5’8” slender with a pleasant open face and good complexion. He had a brown leather strap wrist watch, horn rimmed round glasses and a mop of unruly dark hair. He often sports severe five of clock shadow. He doesn’t smoke and when he drinks it’s for flavour rather than the effect – he did have a rather excellent wine cellar in Hawarden and much of it escaped with him. He seems to operate off coffee, chocolate and the occasional sandwich grabbed at irregular hours. The strength and enthusiasim of Bruce’s handshake is also famous.

Bruce wears voluminous ‘oxford bags’trousers with brown walking shoes. He has an exceedingly fine range of shirts with are inevitably crumbled, ink stained and worn with rolled sleeves and with the collar left off.  If it’s chilly he will have thrown a V-neck tank top on and if perishing tweed jacket that won’t match the ‘bags’ he has on. He can also be seen wearing an Everton scarf (he has no interest in football it’s just something he picked up when cold,) He rarely wears a hat though he normally has a khaki British ‘brodie’ steel helmet to hand. For personal protection he carries a .45 M1911A1 Colt automatic pistol in a back rig.  If out the Martin’s Bank offices – say visiting boffins at one of the research bases he’s established. He will usually have his steel helmet on and carry a doctor’s bag filled with notebooks, diagrams, tools etc;

(Non player character)

Ms Lilith Cashcent – ‘C’s Secretary

Ms Cashcent is an attractive if sharp featured woman with a red hair in a straight ‘it’ girl/’Louise Brooks’ bob.  The style is a decade out of fashion but is practical while being feminine which says a lot about her.  She has a cheeky smile and a twinkle in her eye and is in her mid 30s though could pass for a decade young or older depending on the expression she pulls. She has long thin fingers with the nails well kept but short. She has a lean figure with an hourglass figure and long legs.  Her typical dress is a male shirt or a tight polo neck sweater, tight trew like trousers either in Liverpool Scottish’s Clan Forbes tartan or a grey wool or moleskin. Around the office she’ll wear a pair of pumps but if going out she’ll pull on a pair on well worn Russian boots (again a 1920s fashion.)  Outside when it’s inclement she has somewhere picked up a double breasted French Army ‘bleu de horizon’ great coat and Adrian helmet which she wears. The helmets a little big so she normally has a cloche hat with the brim folded up crammed underneath so its not loose. 

Ms Cashcent’s personal equipment is little more than a cigarette in an ivory holder, a pen on a cord round her neck and some form of light pistol on her hip.  She tends to be office based but does have a leather brief case for meeting papers. Though she tends to travel light relying on her commendable command of facts rather than masses of papers.

Ms Cashcent is vague about her past. Other agents might have commented that what most think is a German accent is in fact a Hungarian one possibly from former Austro-Hungarian Galicia now part of Poland, though she speaks German peppered with Berlinisch dialect and Yiddish words. Her English is also peppered with American terms but she does love to go to the movies. Ms Cashcent also speaks Danish, Swedish, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish.  She is frequently called upon to interrogate captured ‘volunteers’ serving with the Royalist/BUF forces. She appears to have some medical knowledge as she takes a small medical bag to these interrogations.

It is not common knowledge why Lilith settled on Liverpool or even to fight in the British Civil War. If pestered she’ll retort that she got tired of running. Her interest does pick up when Nazi or Italian volunteer units are subject to a mission, she also has a frosty relationship with the Russian and American contingents in the City. Some old hands think she might have acted as one of Cairn’s Irregulars before the war but are unsure how she got the job.

Whereas Cairns is the strategist and Bruce the logistical facilitator of ALFIES, Cashcent pulls everything together – part mother hen, part head girl she reinforces mission briefings and checks agents turn up on time and know what they’ve got to do. She also stops Cairns getting distracted with the details of operation and that he keeps the various militias and city authorities sweet. She also runs the back office of clerks and secretaries that filter intelligence coming from the militia intelligence officers, agents in the field, moles, press reports and radio broadcasts. She is a busy lady and usually sleeps in the office.  She has a liberated and non-gender specific approach to romance but never with a co-worker though she does enjoy a good flirt. On Cairns orders she is normally shadowed by at least two trusted agents at all times that she decries as ‘fussing’ but Cairns thinks reasonable given how crucial she is to operations. Her social contacts also give her another source of information on goings on in the City.

At work it is all business but socially Cashcent seems to have an in-depth knowledge of politics (left, right and moderate) , theology, science, the law, the arts theatre and cinema in particular (to the extent she can sometimes sound like a Quentin Tarratino character.) She’s been seen to field strip a luger pistol in double quick time) and has taken command of a platoon in the field in an emergency stopping a BUF attack in its tracks. Occasionally as a treat she’ll go riding in one of the parks not on the frontlines borrowing a horse from a cavalry officer she knows.

(Non-player character)

Published on November 7, 2010 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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