Friday, April 27th, 2007
Morning dawns on Dukeshouse Wood adventure camp. Gwen (Tammy) is awoken around 10 past 6 by camp counselor Georgia Reed, who teaches arts and crafts. Georgia tells her that a friend of hers is waiting in the community hall and dining mess. Gwen goes and wakes up Tim (SteveR), and tells him to wake up Alex. He does so, and Alex gently wakes Jennifer. Tim notes that Alex and Jennifer's beds are close together. The four get dressed, and head for the dining hall and mess.
In the dining area, Gwen sees Sergeant Denby (in civvies!), sitting at a table in the sparsely populated hall. She and the others see Mary [Johnson], Georgina, and some of the children attending the adventure camp objecting to the porridge. Gwen, Tim, Jennifer, and Alex talk with Denby and discuss various subjects. They talk about the business the night before with the possible pterosaur, and Denby says that while he didn't see it (he didn't go over when everyone in the dining area the night before went to the windows to see what it was), but has the reports from his men. The player characters discuss the idea of going to the bike path where the attack on the children occurred. They are interrupted by Grace Bickford's arrival, with little Gwenny. Gwen and Gwenny bond over their mutual liking of archery. Denby just looks annoyed.
Tim takes Denby and Alex aside, after making a poor excuse to the women and Gwenny for leaving the table. They go to another table to talk, and Tim tells Denby what they learned the day before. Denby asks a few questions, but gets unsatisfactory results. Tim suggests splitting up the player characters to cover more ground, but Denby vetoes this for safety reasons. Alex says they don't have the appropriate cover story for starting to ask those sorts of questions and for his wandering through the woods with "Helen".
Grace tells Gwen and Jennifer that she and Gwenny must join the girl scout troop that have just come in for breakfast. She tells Gwen that Gwenny will be going for some archery practice, and then will join the orienteering and survival hike along the novice bike trail. Gwen asks if she and Jennifer can join them, to follow and observe as part of their pre-screening for their children, but Grace says they will have to talk to the counselor in question. Grace and Gwenny leave for the other table.
Tim, Alex, and Denby rejoin the two women. Before they can talk, they are interrupted again, this time by Wendy Johnson, the owner of the Dukeshouse Wood adventure camp and Beaumont's official representative. She goes into a rapid shpiel about the camp, the facilities they offer, the various activities, etc. In order to facilitate their time at the camp, she tells them she's assigning them a veteran counselor, Mark Perez, to help them out. Gwen asks Wendy about the incidents that have occurred, but the Beaumont rep is evasive, and deflects the question. Alex convinces her to tell them what happened. She says the incident that occurred 10 years ago cannot be talked about, as it's covered by the Official Secrets Act. She does talk to them about what happened two days ago. They learn the basic information they gained from Grace and Harriet Bickford, but add more detail. Jeremy Hill and April Wilson were attacked on the Beta-2 bike trail in the late afternoon by "overly large birds with teeth". Jeremy was severely injured by the bird's bite, and is recovering in the infirmary. The bright lights witnessed by April Wilson are being discounted as due to shock from the attack and the result of the setting sun getting in her eyes. Jennifer asks about various animals in the area and Gwen asks about various plants and poisons, and both get satisfactory answers from Wendy. The player characters learn that the camp has mini-jeeps as well as small, 4-wheeled ATVs. Wendy tells them that it's fine if they join the girl scout troop on their orienteering and survival course.
Once Wendy Johnson leaves, the characters eat breakfast, and Tim explains to Gwen and Jennifer what they've learned so far. Denby is disbelieving of the claim about the large bird from the night before, preferring the hang glider explanation, but becomes concerned when Gwen mentions the squawking of the "glider".
Sgt. Denby leaves to go back to his men on stealth training manoeuvers, and the player characters and Alex and Jennifer head over to the infirmary to see Dr. Lakeson. Gwen notices birds all over the infirmary building and various other structures of the camp, and brings this to Jennifer's attention. On entering the infirmary, Tim drools over the long legs of a medical trainee, Jo(sephine) Lassiter, as she reaches up into one of the higher bunk beds to make up the bed. She stumbles when Tim addresses her, and he catches her before she takes a nasty fall. Gwen plays the part of the jealous wife. At Jo's request, Tim finally puts her down on the ground. The player characters get to talk to Dr. Lakeson. He tells them the creature that attacked Jeremy was a reptile, not a bird. And that it may have been flying. They learn that the groundskeeper, [Douglas] Parsons brought the bird/reptile in, and that Lakeson has it on ice in the medical freezer at the rear of the building.
At Jennifer's request, they all go with Dr. Lakeson to examine the creature. It is a small, pterosaur-like creature with an unusually short tail. It has razor-sharp jaws, and Jennifer points out the area near the nasal cavities indicate a keen sense of smell. They discuss the creature and discuss the possibility of its being prehistoric. The group returns to the infirmary, and Alex, Tim, and Dr. Lakeson go back inside. Gwen hears a loud "SQWAAK!" again, and looking up she points the huge hang glider bird out to Jennifer. Jennifer says they need to talk about this, outside, and excuses herself and Gwen from the men and Dr. Lakeson. Jennifer tells Gwen that it may be a pterandon, native to the Jurassic, and if so, that makes the so-called air piranha that Dr. Lakeson has on ice an Anurognathus (maybe). Gwen and the palaeontologist realise this explains why normal birds have left the forest for the open air areas, even though the Pteranodon is present. Gwen hears a rustle from a nearby bush, and sees a girl of 13+ with dark hair run towards the archery range. The two women are worried, as she may have overheard their conversation.
Inside the infirmary, Alex gets permission from Dr. Lakeson to talk with Jeremy. He and Tim do so. Tim attempts to connect with the boy, but is rebuffed harshly, but Alex is able to appeal to Jeremy's vanity and the boy's feeling like a hero to get him to open up. Alex notices that Jeremy is clutching a badge for passing the first stage of wilderness survival training with the name "Abigail" on it; there's also blood. Jeremy tells them that he and April were attacked by three of the bird/reptiles while carrying a bucket of water. He says the animals were hanging on a branch using their claws, right before he and April were attacked. Jeremy hit one with the bucket, protecting April. The groundskeeper [Parsons] showed up and killed another one of them, and then brought the creature to the doctor for examination. Dr. Lakeson says they've had enough time with Jeremy, and the two leave, bumping into Gwen and Jennifer as they enter the infirmary.
Outside the infirmary, Gwen tells Tim and Alex what Jennifer has concluded about the creatures, and that they may have a problem, as one of the girls may have overheard their discussion about the creatures (Gwen calling it an "air piranha", as she has trouble with the scientific name for them). Alex asks them if they know anyone named Abigail, as he tells them what he saw in Jeremy's hand. The PR man worries that there may have been a third young hiker involved, and that she may have died. This concerns the other characters a lot.
The player characters decide that they need to talk to April Wilson. As they wander around, they come upon one of the counselors, Emily Hartmann. Tim almost puts his foot in his throat when he tells Emily that they want to talk to April about the bird attacks. She tries to deflect him from his goal, and tries to put a good spin on the subject, stating that accidents happen at adventure camps all the time, and this is just one of those things. Emily eventually tells him that April is over at the zipline area, having her morning lesson. Gwen asks Emily if the children get awards for completing adventures, and is told that they do. She lists a series of the camp events, including survival training and archery. The player characters thank her, and head for the zipline area.
This afternoon's game session of the Primeval RPG with the Sunday gaming group went pretty well. The players did a good job handling the investigative elements of the session, and managed to learn a good deal of information about the goings on (and off) that they needed to learn about. There was even some creature stuff going on towards the end, and we stopped with characters in a somewhat precarious situation.