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Matadi Downtown

Le Petit Point d’Arret Parlant

The official setting for the introductory Top Secret adventure (Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle / Codename: Pisces) is an international “market” area in a small neutral European town that is a hot-spot for cold war espionage since the 40s.

But hey, why stick to Europe?

Hear me out.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo / the Republic of Zaire is a wonderful hot spot for international cold war tensions in the 70s. Mobutu took over the country with strong US backing in the mid 60s. In the real world he tried to push out all colonial influences, but at the same time was currying favour with the US, France, and Belgium, and then with China while pretending to still be unaligned and re-opening diplomacy with the USSR.

In a semi-fictionalized version of this, we see the Authenticity campaign as not being quite as pervasive and international trading communities and companies allowed to remain in select areas of the country (thus curtailing the “Zairian Sickness” of gross corruption where his appointed family members who took over the foreign companies then stripped them of all valuables and destroyed the companies and thus crippled much of Zaire’s international trade).

One of these would be a foreign trade district in the city of Matadi – Zaire’s largest port city and the centre for most international trade in the country. And within that district is the Sprechenhaltestelle quarter.

It is 1975, the Angolan Civil War has begun and the Russians are no longer welcome in Zaire, but the Chinese are. But everyone knows that a kleptocracy like Mobutu’s can be leveraged, and Mobutu hasn’t lost his position as the mouthpiece of Africa yet.

Matadi Downtown 2

The East is represented mostly by Chinese investors and diplomats and their agents. But there are also some Russian activity which the Chinese are working against.

The West is a mix of French, Belgian, and American agents – who, like the powers of the East, are not working together so much as vaguely on the same side.

And in the mix are of course the local “neutral” parties who will help whoever needs help, if the money is right.