Saturday, April 1st, 2007
The Nottingham Bridges bus tour begins. The first stop is Taran's Bridge, a notable place associated with a hero out of Nottinghamshire folklore. Gwen (Tammy) keeps the tour bus passengers enthralled with her interesting lecture on the site, even Tim (SteveR) and Jimmy (Doug) paying attention. They arrive at the bridge, and one of the passengers, Jacob Henderson, complains that it's about time. His wife, Lily tells the folks around them not to mind him. The tourists debark the bus, and Gwen gives them the safety spiel that is usual on these tourist excursions.
Three tourists want photos of the area below the bridge, and Gwen points out the footpath, and they descend below the bridge, Caroline in tow with them at Gwen's request. Tim attempts to go up on the bridge, and determines that it is structurally sound. Jimmy goes to stand beneath a nearby tree, suffering from a hangover. He shades his eyes; he sees a torn blue blouse hanging some 2.5 metres up in the branches.
His surprise is interrupted by a scream from below the bridge. Another tourist, Alice Welles, has badly sprained her ankle. Tim goes back to the bus and gets some ice, while Gwen descends below the bridge to the afflicted woman. She overhears Alice say that she was startled by the sight of two eyes under the bridge. Gwen calls Dave Hargrove, and requests he call an ambulance, and that he should break open the beer and liquor. Alice says she's lost her camera, but there's no sign of it, even though Tim looks for it after returning with the ice. Gwen goes to where Alice saw the eyes, and spots 3.8 cm. footprints. The footprints lead deeper beneath the bridge, but she doesn't pursue their course. The ambulance arrives on the scene, and the EMTs determine that Alice's ankle is badly sprained. They will take her back to the Lambert Hotel, but Caroline tells Gwen and the others that they'll continue the tour.
The morning part of the tour continues with a trip to Fossing Bridge, some 35 minutes away. The bridge crosses a river, the Fossing, and has been associated with fossergrim sightings from time to time. Gwen and Caroline give a good accounting of the history and legends, as well as mentioning the Fossing Barrow. Several tourists want to see the barrows, but Gwen tells them while they can visit the mounds, they can't enter them. Reginald Harte is quite disappointed at this fact. Gwen knows hhis name from somewhere, but can't remember where.
Caroline and Gwen decide not to split the tourists up into a barrow and bridge pair of groups until they are at the point in the path where the split paths occur. The tour of the barrows goes fine. Reginald Harte, Tim, and Caroline go to visit the barrows, and the former seems to be deeply interested in the burial mounds. He makes no attempt to enter them, but plies Caroline with questions she can't answer. Tim admits to Gwen later that he went on the barrow expedition, as he was curious about them geologically.
The next stop on the tour is Groater Bridge, at which lunch will be served. Half of the group has tuna sandwiches, the other half take cucumber and cheese sandwiches [Gwen has tuna, Tim has tuna, Jimmy has cucumber]. Derek Hobson comments to Jimmy about the additional alcoholic beverages with the catering materiels, and tells Jimmy that he hasn't had a drink since the morning. Caroline informs Gwen that the latter can deal with the Groater Bridge part of the tour. Gwen does a good job on telling the tourists about the bridge and its history, but several of the punters moan, groan, and yawn. Mary Margaret spots something, and points it out. Gwen sees a discolouration in the foliage near the right trestle. She sends Caroline to investigate the cause [costing her a Story Point as she did not engage her Insatiable Curiosity]. Caroline descends the slope and is scared, falling some 5 metres and hitting her head (with a bad wound and concussion), and suffers a bad break of her left leg. Jimmy sees what has happened, and descends; on seeing her injuries, he tells Gwen and Tim. Tim descends and checks on Caroline. Jimmy stands there, and sees a hand poking through the vegetation near the trestle base. He freezes [failing his Fear check], Gwen and Tim noticing his odd behaviour. Jimmy indicates the hand, and then talks about it out loud. The other tourists all freak out; some 6 of them go into fetal position or freeze, but the remainder of the 35 flee all over the place in panic. Chaos ensues.
Gwen attempts to exert some emotional control over the tourists, but fails. She calls Dave Hargrove, the bus driver, but he freaks out at what he sees and the walkie-talkie she uses gives her nothing but static. Jimmy looks at the dismembered hand, but notices that the vegetation in the area is "off". He takes a stick and clears the vegetation away from the hand, but it tumbles down the incline and before Tim can get close enough to look at it, floats away downstream. The water in several puddles near the river "shakes" and Tim notices this, but when he brings it to Jimmy's attention, the ex-con sees nothing unusual. Gwen manages to gather up 10 of the tourists, leaving 18 of them still missing, and she takes them back to the bus. She finds that Dave is slightly catatonic, staring at the trees, muttering "What was it?" over and over again. Gwen looks towards where he is gazing, but sees nothing. She moves over to the nearby vegetation, and sees footprints - 1.5 metres deep, 1 to 1.5 metres long, and humanoid; she guesstimates that whatever it was, it stood about 4 metres tall and massed around 1 metric tonne.
Gwen calls the Home Office on her mobile phone, and speaks to Franklin Cartwright. After he hears her out, he agrees to send Alexander Valentine and Dr. Jennifer Dorchester with an SAS squad. She then calls the Nottingham Emergency, but refuses to allow the police to be involved, informing them that she has other "services" coming to the scene. She takes the first aid kit and rope from the bus, and lowers it to Tim and Jimmy. She tells them all that's happened and that she's called in the SAS. Tim disinfects Caroline's wounds, and jury rigs a splint for her leg.
Tim climbs back up and joins Gwen in the search for the missing eighteen tourists. Gwen finds eight more, and Tim finds another five, and they bring them back to the bus. It's starting to get dark, and there are still three tourists missing. The ambulance arrives on the scene to take Caroline away, and Jimmy decides to help in the search, going off with Tim.
Eventually, Gwen finds a torso, two legs, and one arm in a blood-soaked copse of trees. The arm has signs of exposure to poison ivy. She also finds two more giant footprints, but is finally able to identify the body as belonging to Dave Wilkington. Her sharp eyes also spot the Anomaly in the distance, off to the west. She calls Jimmy on her mobile, and tells him about the body. When he and Tim joins her, they find Jill Masterson. She asks them where Alex is, and describes the creature as a "giant ape", and she doesn't accept Tim's explanation for what she saw being a large bear. Between the two men, they bring Jill back to the bus, while Gwen goes in search of the Anomaly.
She finds the Anomaly after some 20 minutes. Hearing a chirping sound from the Anomaly, she conceals herself about 6 metres distant. Three cat-like creatures, spotted, and larger than leopards emerge. They hear a growling sound from the Anomaly, and go back through the time portal. Gwen attempts to use her walkie-talkie and her mobile, but they're not working. She gets the bright idea to use her tourist orienteering ribbons to mark the route back to the pieces of corpse and back to the bus. She starts to head back.
Meanwhile, Tim and Jimmy arrive back at the bus with Jill, and find that the Home Office team has arrived. They greet Dr. Jennifer Dorchester and Alexander Valentine, and Corporal Denby and his SAS squad. Rose Tyler starts to ask too many questions, but is deflected by Alex Valentine's adept verbal skills. Jill tells Alex Valentine, as well as Tim and Jimmy, that she knows they were lying about what's happened, but then goes happily to the bus and is reunited with her Alex.
Jennifer talks to Dave Hargrove about what he saw, and she goes to look at the footprints. Denby is finally able to get in touch with Gwen, and she fills him in on everything that's occurred. Jennifer interrupts the call, taking the phone out of the annoyed Denby's hand. She and Gwen compare notes, and Jennifer says that it's a bigfoot or perhaps yeti, Gigantopithecus Blacki, from the late Miocene and Pleistocene. When Jennifer identifies the cat-like creatures that Gwen saw as Dinofelis miceni, she tells Denby to send men to guard the the light show. Denby tells her that it's proper name should be used - they're Anomalies. He sends Johnson, Kirby, and Derricks to the Anomaly site.
[Cut To: Three dinofelis emerge from the Anomaly. They yowl at each other, sniffing the air, and then set off for the first orientation ribbon, homing in on the scent of tuna...]
I wasn't sure whether the Sunday gaming group would be able to play today, given the weather. The forecast was for some snow, but the freezing rain would prove to be more difficult to overcome. However, both Tammy and spross were able to come in for the game, and Douglas was able to make it out as well, so all was good.
This afternoon's game of Primeval RPG on the Sunday gaming group went quite well, and the plot developed as well as the actual scenario itself. The players got a few surprises, and they surprised me a couple of times as well. Overall, I had a good time running the game, and accomplished what I set out to do for this game session. Given all that's going on with mom right now, running Primeval RPG has allowed me to relax while gaming again, get some emotional baggage out of my system, and just have fun again with the writing/creating of scenarios and the like.