Friday, March 23rd, 2007
The International Conference on Nature and Life Sciences (ICNLS) has started on Monday, the 19th of March and is taking place at Manderley House, located some 50 kilometres outside London near the swank town of Manderley. Gwendolyn ("Gwen") Thorpe (Tammy) is there as part of the Kensington group with her rival, Caroline Spencer. Timothy Carson (SteveR) is present, giving a pair of presentations (the first one was okay, but drew some unpopular perspectives). Security for the conference is being provided by the Home Office - it is an international convention, after all - and the SAS [headed up by Sir James Lester]. Security for the conference consists of three squads of SAS men, each squad comprising twelve men.
The Friday morning of the conference dawns, and the various delegates are eating breakfast. Gwen meets Dr. Jennifer Dorchester (GM NPC), a palaeontologist, who says to her that she had listened to the Kensington presentation, and that her friend, Caroline, doesn't have her poise for such talks. Gwen is tickled pink, and asks Dr. Dorchester if she would be kind enough to join her for breakfast. Jennifer counters, and asks Gwen if she'd like to join her for jogging afterwards. She says that it's good athletic exercise, and that it's useful for running away from people with guns and wild animals. She tells Gwen something about her digs in Mexico, Africa, and south China, and why she took up jogging. Gwen accepts the offer, and Jennifer accepts the offer of breakfast.
While sitting enjoying his breakfast, Tim is approached by April Thorne. She acts cattily, and says that she understands that he has lost his place on the Icelandic expedition, and that he might also lose his tenure at the University College London (UCL). When he asks how she knows, April replies that her contacts go higher than his do. She informs him that Dr. Littlefield has offered her Tim's old position, and then moves off to join another group of delegates, making sure that Tim can see the nasty smile on her face.
James (Jimmy) Black (Douglas) is working the conference, currently behind the buffet table carving pork and roast beef slices for the convention guests, staff, and delegates. Alexander (Alex) Valentine (GM NPC) talks to Jimmy, and tells him that he's investigated him, knows of his criminal past, and wants to know more about the (giant spiders) business in Soho the week before. Alex wants to know what the media and the police are hiding about the affair. He gives Jimmy his business card before moving along the line of people getting food.
At their table, Jennifer talks with Gwen, and asks her if she's found any fossils during her tourist tours. Gwen says that she found some bones and stuff that people had dug up (while tomb robbing), but no fossils as far as she could tell. Jennifer says she has to dash to her presentation on "The Life Cycle of Megafauna in the Jurassic". She almost forgets her briefcase, and dashes back to pick it up. Gwen says that she's decided that she's going to attend the lecture.
Tim goes to give his presentation, "Geomagnetic Changes and Predictors of Natural Disasters". The room is jam packed with folks, and Tim sees that April Thorne, Dr. Littlefield and his two guests [Philip Burton and Helen Cutter] are sitting together in the audience. The presentation goes pretty well and at the end of the discussion there is a smattering of applause, but most of the questions asked are indicative of the audience considering the presentation a bit too "simplistic". Dr. Littlefield approach Tim with one of the guests [Philip Burton]. He found the presentation a bit simplistic, but says that this is due to Tim's lack of field work, so there has been no progress in his work. Burton introduces himself, and tells Tim that he's read his work, but finds that his lack of knowledge colours it somewhat severely. He tells Tim that he needs to devote some time to thermodynamics. Burton knows of Tim's tenure being up, and says that if he's ever in need of a job, he should consider coming to work at Prospero Industries. Littlefield and Burton excuse themselves, as they want to attend several other presentations.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Dorchester speaks quite eloquently at her presentation, showing a slide show of fossils with artist renderings and several Jurassic fossil examples she has brought along with her. Most if not all of the discussion goes over Gwen's head, but she's disappointed that there is nothing and no mention of the creatures that she encountered in Henderson Park.
Jimmy goes out to take his break for the morning, and sees that it is an overcast day. There are various guests and others about, but nothing unusual seems to be happening. Fernando, the sous chef, tells Jimmy that he has the afternoon off, but says that he's working the Prospero Industries evening shindig, so must be back before 5 pm. The rest of the evening goes uneventfully for all concerned.
The next morning dawns somewhat overcast, but the day turns brighter and warms up somewhat. Many of the conference guests and delegates are already heading home, as the ICNLS is on its last legs.
Jennifer Dorchester shows up at Gwen's door bright and early for their morning jog. Much to Gwen's dismay, Jennifer is accompanied by Caroline. Caroline's bright mood irks Gwen, and then she learns that the two women hit it off after the presentation the day before. They get ready to jog, deciding to go through the Common and into the woods, a good 4 to 6 kilometres. The women take two bottles of water each and some of their basic necessities, and then exit the Estate and move off on their jogging run.
While the women jog, the ground shakes violently. Gwen and Jennifer maintain their balance, but Caroline stumbles and scrapes her shin. Jennifer gallantly offers her aid, and helps Caroline to her feet, while Gwen half-heartedly asks if she's all right. They talk about the ground shaking, but Jennifer says it wasn't an earthquake.
While working through the morning, Jimmy has to dodge another waiter and his tray as he stumbles and nearly falls during the ground quake. Tim goes out to the veranda after the shaking, but sees and hears nothing unusual. He goes inside, and is ambushed by his peers, all wanting to know what happened. Tim explains that it was not a quake, as the ground in the area is extremely stable. Several of the conference security staff question people in the estate about whether they noticed anything unusual, and when people, including Tim and Jimmy, deny seeing or hearing anything, the guests are informed by several Manderley bobbies that they are confined to the house and cannot leave, as there is an investigation under way.
In the great outdoors, Gwen looks around and thinks she sees a shimmering light of some sort to the west. She tells the others and they see nothing, but Caroline wants to continue their run, so they go off-trail - heading west, of course. When the three women get closer, Gwen seees what appear to be a bunch of shadowy figures. She sees a creature, a seeming prehistoric rhino-like creature of large size. She doesn't startle it, and begins to herd the other two women slowly away. One of creatures notices their movement, and Jennifer becomes transfixed by the creatures, and tries to identify them. Oblivious to it all, Caroline bends down and re-ties her shoes. Straightening up, she squeals when she sees the herd of creatures. When she moves to try and rejoin Gwen and Jennifer, one of the creatures notices her, and bellows. The herd is alerted, and seems to be somewhat anxious.
Back at the Estate, a man in an Armani suit (James Lester) approaches Jimmy Black, and informs him that he is to come with him and bring a meat cleaver and follow as quickly as he can. He leads Jimmy through the Estate to the northeast corner of the building. He goes through a door, telling Jimmy to remain there, and Jimmy is able to glimpse what appears to be a body that has been carved up. He hears a "Damn!" from the other side of the closed door. Lester returns through the door with the cleaver, now bloody, and tells Jimmy to clean it up and sterilize it. Franklin Cartwright, one of James Lester's higher-up underlings, hears them talking, and emerges through the door. They talk some, and Lester tells Jimmy to go through and take a look at the body. Jimmy can't tell what made the wounds - serrated edges and huge gouges.
Lester and Cartwright discuss Jimmy's usefulness. They make reference to the events at Henderson Park and the business with the giant spiders. As they talk, Jimmy learns that Inspector Cartwright is in charge, as Lester is heading back to London. Cartwright is given permission to conscript Jimmy and his "co-conspirators" and to invoke the Official Secrets Act. Cartwright calls in a couple of the SAS men, and tells one of them, Denby, to go and find Gwendolyn Thorpe and Timothy Carson and bring them back to him. Jimmy says that he saw her go jogging out the back of the estate with two other women. Cartwright tells Denby to take (Sheila) Jombers and Gordon and get out there and find the woman.
Denby is able to find Tim Carson rather quickly, and heads back with him to Cartwright. Cartwright tells Jimmy that there's another couple of involved folks in this affair, and Alex Valentine comes into the room. They discuss how to create a cover story for this matter. Denby returns with Tim, and then departs with Jombers and Gordon to search for the elusive Gwen.
This session of the Primeval RPG launched a new scenario for the Sunday afternoon gaming group, and went pretty well overall. The players are finally making some headway in the game with their characters, getting a grasp on them, although spross and Douglas continue to struggle with their characters somewhat. Tammy is handling her character pretty well at this point, and I find that she's the glue that's keeping the other two together to some degree. The adventure itself started a little bit slowly, but that was only to be expected as the three characters have such disparate backgrounds and very little in common.
While the game went well, Douglas is seriously struggling with his character, especially fitting in with the others and wanting to go to work with the Home Office. Douglas doesn't appear to have actually thought out the character's background all too well, at least in terms of fitting in to a Primeval game, but is having to deal with things as best he can. I'm looking forward to the next session of this adventure, and seeing how things go.