It's the Saturday evening of the Guy Fawkes weekend and fireworks are going off everywhere, but that doesn't matter, what matter is that it's time for the next session in my Tinyd6 Beach Patrol campaign.
Travertine Canyon Regional Park About 40 miles east of Bay City and beyond the Los Angeles conurbation is Travertine Canyon Regional Park, this nature reserve is a rugged, hilly wilderness populated with mixed trees that flourish along the frequent ridges and inclines throughout the canyon. Low and hardy grasses sporadically grow amongst the rocky landscape.
Lake Santiago This largish lake is actually a snow-fed reservoir whose waters originate from numerous streams and rivers in the surrounding mountainous region. Several streams from the Travertine Canyon Regional Park flow into Lake Santiago. The lake is a popular tourist destination for fishers, pleasure boaters, water skiers and more.
Santiago City A small town nestled along a stretch of the Lake Santiago's shoreline.
Adventulation Events This small business operates out of Santiago City and provides adventure 'experiences' for clients in the Travertine Canyon Regional Park area, including lake activities, guided trail hikes, camping trips and of course teambuilding exercises.
Emilio Lane, Paula Jordan & Jamie Hughes Owner/employees of Adventulation Events. This professionally, perennially cheerful trio run many of the activities provided by Adventulation Events.
Willard Forepaws A black wirehaired Slovakian pointer acquired by Stella from the Bay City animal shelter. Willard is happy and excitable, very much a people-dog.
Max Barnes, Dan Dawson, Jay Campos & Scotty Ortiz Bank robbers from Irvine
22nd June 1996
This weekend was time for the annual Beach Patrol teambuilding event! Ditch had told our heroes to come in at their normal time in practical, outdoor clothing and to bring a packed lunch. After our heroes have arrived, the teams from lifeguard towers 1 & 3 were also there. Our heroes noticed that Brat had a bruised face, Stella asked him about it. Brat explained that he'd been 'jumped' by some thugs a few days ago, he thinks this is related to the drug dealers he's been having run-ins with.
Ditch took them all out to the main road, waiting there for them were a pair sturdy 4x4s with trailers, he introduced them to Emilio Lane, Paula Jordan & Jamie Hughes who work for Adventulation Events - and who would be managing the teambuilding exercise. The trio were unendingly cheerful and positive, they explained that everyone will be taken out to the Travertine Canyon Regional Park, split into 3 teams and dropped off at one of the different streams in the park. Each team will then build a raft from the materials provided and sail it to Lake Santiago some 10 miles downstream, whichever team reaches the lake first is the winner! Winter theatrically rolled her eyes at the entire event!
Wild Wild Life The drive out east to Travertine Canyon Regional Park took about an hour and the urban bustle of Bay City was left behind. Soon the 4x4s are rumbling along winding old dirt trails and passing through rugged and rocky terrain, dust clouds blooming in their wake, Willard had his head out of the window the whole time. For a while the trail ran close to a fast moving stream before diverging and entering some low hills, eventually the 4x4s found the stream again and crossed it at a ford.
At the first stream, the 4x4s stop, our heroes and Emilio disembarked, a crate of tools, useful materials, lifejackets, a flare gun and box of flares were also dropped off before the 4x4s pulled away. Emilio explained that once the other two teams are also dropped off, then the event can begin. Half an hour passed before Emilio is radioed on his walkie-talkie and at about 10am, the race was on.
Our heroes began their task, soon the 4x4s returned and picked up Emilio, he explained that they would be waiting for the three teams at the lake. Except for Stella, who just complained; our heroes toiled away for a while under the bright morning sun, strapping numerous lengths of wood and plastic barrels together with cord until they were happy with the result. Then, with some straining, they dragged their raft into the stream until all need for effort abruptly vanished - the raft was floating! Our heroes jumped aboard as did the overly excited Willard, Doc took control of the makeshift rudder and they were off!
The raft was carried along by the whims of the stream through the rocky foothills and steep, stony banks, our heroes had to use poles and the rudimentary rudder to constantly manoeuvre and adjust the raft's trajectory. Several times the deceptive current wrongfooted them, causing the raft to crunch loudly into rock protuberances, buckling it alarmingly and forcing them to come ashore and effect impromptu repairs. The current's strength ebbed and flowed unpredictably over the miles as they continued along the everchanging stream. At some point they began hearing a low, dull, hissing roar downstream and beached the raft on a rocky stretch of riverbank. A quick check ahead revealed what they feared; a misty waterfall was ahead, it had about a 10ft drop, too much for the raft to survive and they had no choice but to find another way down.
This involved carrying and dragging the raft along a faint grassy trail that threaded its way down the inclination to the steam's lower level, it was hard and treacherous work, a misstep could easily turn an ankle. Stella broke a nail and again endlessly complained all the way done, but then they were done and back on the stream. Past the waterfall, the stream became smoother, widening a little, easier to predict and navigate, our heroes made good time. The landscape now began flattening, low hills began dropping away, revealing a rolling thin scrubland vista, the stream's meandering path took the raft close to the dirt trail our heroes had come up this morning.
Lay Down Your Guns A little further and our heroes spotted a car, stopped at the side of the trail at an askew angle, someone was sprawled in an ungainly manner on the floor and two people were crouched by them, a fourth had spotted the raft and was waving frantically. It was clear to our heroes that someone was in trouble. Doc steered the raft to shore and beached it, our heroes sprang out and headed for the injured man, the two crouching men then stood and turned, pistols in hand, the waving man also pulled a pistol, all three were brandished at our heroes. It was then that they noticed a thin column of steam rising from the car, its bodywork punctuated with a number of bullet holes, the man on the floor was genuinely injured, he was gripping a bloody patch on his clothes, breathing labouredly. One of the gunmen ordered our heroes to take the injured man aboard the raft, pointing his pistol suggestively, he held himself as the leader of the four, he was tall, six-four and had a practised hard expression and stern features. It looked like the four of them were running from something and the raft was their only option? Once our heroes had taken the injured man aboard, the three gunmen followed, bringing two large and bulging holdalls between them, the raft had become very crowded! The leader ordered our heroes to set off on the stream. With so many passengers, the raft was dangerously close to sinking as it continued its course downstream. Doc quickly checked out the injured guy, it didn't look rosy, if he didn't get medical treatment in a few hours, he'd be dead. The gunmen asked what our heroes were doing here? When our heroes replied that it was a teambuilding exercise, the gunmen just looked back confused. The leader and one of the other gunmen started whispering to each other, Winter managed to eavesdrop on them. "They've seen our faces Max," said the gunman to the leader. "Don't use my name!" Replied Max.
Stella tried to engage the gunmen in conversation but they didn't go for it, instead she reached into her bag and pulled out some vol-au-vents, offering them to the men, they hesitated, but took them, maybe they were hungry. While they were distracted, nimble fingered Stella managed to lift Max's pistol and immediately shot Max and one of the other gunmen, Max had taken a glancing blow and was still up, but the other man went down, Winter tried pushing the last one into the water but he managed to keep his balance, Art then lunged for him and they became locked in a tussle. Stella was kind of hoping that Willard might attack, instead he just ran in little circles, wagging his tail and lolling his tongue! Winter then swung a few blows at Max, who looked shocked to find himself having his clock cleaned by a teenager. Art was still grappling with the other gunman when he got shot and slumped into unconsciousness. With Art down, Stella had a clear shot and hit the gunmen again and he went down, then she turned the gun on Max who was struggling with Winter, taking aim she managed to shoot him.
Quickly, Doc checked Art, he was still unconscious but stable, Doc treated his wound as best as possible. The two gunmen were both alive but incapacitated, Max however, had taken a mortal wound and bled out. Our heroes made sure that the three wounded gunmen couldn't make anymore trouble and relieved them of their firearms.
Mo Money Mo Problems With the gunmen in hand; our heroes continued on their way to Lake Santiago, the stream was even calmer now and soon, it started to merge with another stream, as the rocky shoreline began to give way to the confluence, the raft of Ditch's team slid into view and PJ waved at our heroes energetically, the two teams were neck-and-neck! Furthermore in the bright, sunlit, hazy distance, everyone could see the landscape opening up as the stream emptied into the lake, the finish line was close. As the two streams brought them closer, our heroes could see a questioning look on Ditch's face as he saw the extra passengers aboard their raft. Doc indicated the far bank and said he'd explain on shore.
Ditch and his team pushed their raft toward the shore, meanwhile our heroes powered on, ignoring the shore heading straight for the lake! Realising he's been hoodwinked, Ditch jumped up and down in indignation at our heroes duplicitous, treacherous behaviour and urged Brat and PJ move faster as he kept punting with his own pole, it wasn't enough though and our heroes drifted into the lake ahead. Looking round, they heroes couldn't spot the other raft, they were first!
Celebrations would have to wait though, our heroes took the raft to a dock where they saw Emilio, Paula & Jamie waiting, our heroes got them to call the police and paramedics. Soon the dock was swarming with uniforms and our heroes had to provide statements, the three gunmen were arrested and bundled away and Max was taken by the coroner. The police were diligently looking for the guns, it looked like they were some kind of evidence? Stella had hoped to keep them, but the police were looking hard for them, so she had to give them up. Our heroes also handed over one of the holdalls, the police took it without question.
Once the day's drama was done, as winners of the exercise, our heroes will given small trophies, the teams from lifeguard towers 1 & 2 were given participation medals.
Later when our heroes had returned home, no one had noticed them bringing an extra holdall with them and when they were alone, our heroes checked inside. It was filled with cash.
Later on our heroes would learn that the four men were wanted for robbing the Grand Market Holdings Bank in Irvine, whilst trying to escape they were caught in shootout with the police, they managed to flee, but one of them took a bullet. They then drove off, managing to evade police pursuit by staying off the freeway and hitting the wilderness.