It's Saturday night and my Beach Patrol campaign continues.
Sapphire Spice A restaurant on Cove Pier, recently changed ownership and is known for it's Mexican fusion menu.
Old Town Supposedly the oldest part of Bay City, the district is a blend of single story, wooden, residential housing and a mixture of various commercial uses
Lower Street A busy highway that runs through Old Town. Lower Street is known for the abundance of motor vehicle related businesses that can be found on it.
Best Brand Motors A smallish second-hand car dealership located on Lower Street and run Brandon Allen.
Carbon A trendy and popular nightclub destination in central Bay City, known for its minimalist stylings. Carbon has a reputation as being very lax when it comes to dealing with dealers
Foxland Country Club An exclusive club for Bay City's wealthy set which is situated in several dozen acres of lavishly landscaped grounds, provides golf, tennis, horse riding, swimming facilities and more. Also contains several bars and restaurants.
Mason Woodrow A dishevelled, middle-aged looking investigative reporter who prowls the Bay City beat looking for stories and works for the Bay City Inquirer.
John Barret The charismatic, smooth-talking new owner of Sapphire Spice.
Ramzy Gordo Sapphire Spice's new head chef, took over when the restaurant became owned by John Barret. Ramzy is English, has a shock of blond, spikey hair and habitually swears.
Bay City Environmental Protection Trust An environmentally concerned charity organisation that is based in Bay City.
Abby Fitzgerald An young, attractive and wealthy Bay City socialite, took it upon herself to join the Bay City Environmental Protection Trust and managed to get a seat in the boardroom after a sizable donation from 'Daddy'.
Brook Laners A low-level street gang that operates out of Brook Lane, seem somehow related to the dealers that are active in the area.
29th June 1996
Our heroes came for their shift start at the usual time and noticed that Brat wasn't present, which was unusual for him. Ditch told them that he hadn't heard from Brat for a few days and he wasn't answering the phone. Our heroes were immediately concerned, they knew that Brat had had a couple of run-ins with drug dealers on Cove Pier and was planning on going out looking for them in the city. They decided to check on him when their shift was over.
Break My Stride The morning passed uneventfully as a blazing sun rose over a blue sky and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Crowds of beach-goers had been surging on to Cove Beach all morning and our heroes were busied by a plethora of turned ankles, lost property, cases of sunburn and other mundane concerns. At around 10am they noticed man who looked quite out of place in a 2 piece business suit and loafers, he was sprinting at full speed along the beach, kicking up a wake of sand behind him as he ran, our heroes then noticed 3 others, rough men in, sneakers, jeans and hooded tops or baggy windbreakers in pursuit, they too, seemed out of play. People running this fast on the beach constituted a risk to the public and it looked like something was up, so our heroes decided to intercede. They stopped the man in a suit, while further back, the 3 pursuers instantly slowed to walk and changed direction, Doc carefully watched them they strolled off the beach, feigning nonchalance as they looked around.
The man introduced himself as Mason Woodrow; investigative journalist on the Bay City beat. With a crumpled grey suit and creased shirt, he looked quite dishevelled, the five-day stubble and unkept hair only added to the effect. There was something familiar about Mason, our heroes were sure of it, then Winter cottoned on. Mason Woodrow had been one of the reporters at Blaine Davis' impromptu press conference on the beach a few weeks ago, he was the reporter who'd asked Blaine about The Beast of Cove Beach. Our heroes questioned Mason about the chase and he stated that the three men were after him because of the story he working on. It wasn't the Beast of Cove Bay story Mason informed our heroes, although he was still working on that story. Right now, he was investigating a rumour he'd picked up about a local councillor who'd taken a bribe to reduce security at the Monarch Harbour Marina just north of Cove Pier, allowing boats to be easily stolen. Mason was trawling Cove Beach for leads on cheap boat parts or stolen boats when the three men had appeared.
Stella asked Mason if he'd heard about the Venezuelan Gym Cartel muscling in on Bay City? He hadn't and dug into a jacket pocket, produced a notepad and began rapidly scribbling away. After finishing his notes, Mason and our heroes exchanged business cards and he went on his way, cautiously eying the surroundings as he exited Cove Beach.
Midday came and with it the heat and the burgeoning crowds, the our heroes' walkie-talkies squawked into life, Ditch was calling; a crowd had gathered at Cove Pier and there was some sort of trouble brewing. They needed managing and since Ditch was shorthanded today, he needed them to check it out, he got Kenny from tower 3 to cover for them.
When our heroes got there, it looked like over a hundred people had gathered on Cove Pier, milling about and dangerously filling almost entirely all of the walkway they occupied, there was a risk that an accident might happen. The crowd had congregated outside the front of a small restaurant called Sapphire Spice and were in the process of yelling and shouting at the restaurant in protest, inside the staff were nervously peering out of the door at mob. Amongst the noisy crowd, Stella spoke to one of the protesters and was told that the restaurant was selling whale meat, Stella was immediately incensed, she knew that this was illegal. Our heroes decided to investigate. Stella contacted Ditch and asked to look into the legality of the situation, he said he'd get on it.
They'd heard of Sapphire Spice, it was a Mexican fusion restaurant not too far from Club Lagoon that had changed hands a few months ago. Art went and checked out the back of the restaurant while Stella, Winter and Doc went inside and asked for the manager. A slim, dark haired man came forward and introduced himself as John Barret, owner and manager of Sapphire Spice. Our heroes questioned him about the allegation of selling whale meat, he denied everything, stating he didn't know why the crowd were protesting outside or where the rumours had started. He was a smooth talker and quite convincing, but Doc was certain he was not telling them something.
Meanwhile, as Stella and Doc were talking to John Barret and his staff were preoccupied with the situation outside, Winter took the opportunity to slip into the kitchen at the back, it was quite empty at the moment. Everything looked normal, there were racks of steel utensils, worktops lined with appliances, cookers and ovens, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Winter found the walk-in freezer and went inside, shelves of various foodstuffs lined the chilly room, none of it looked like whale meat though. Suddenly, Winter was interrupted by a chef, he had a shock of scruffy blonde and spoke with an English accent as he swore at Winter and demanded to know why she was in his kitchen? "Whatever," Winter said, trying to play the indignant teenager card. The chef, Ramzy Gordo was having none of it, he swore at Winter again and forcibly took her back to the restaurant's front.
At the rear of Sapphire Spice, Art was having a look round, space on the pier was at a premium and the restaurant almost backed on to the edge of the pier, the walkway around the rear was only 3 feet wide. Art didn't find evidence of anything at the back.
Without any evidence, our heroes had to leave Sapphire Spice, instead they returned to the protestors to find out where these rumours had come from. They found that the protest had been organised by The Bay City Environmental Preservation Trust, a local non-profit and Abby Fitzgerald, who sat on the charity's board. Abby Fitzgerald was a young and attractive woman and it made Stella feel a little insecure, she approached Abby and asked why the protest had been organised on a unsubstantiated rumour, Abby said it had come from a friend of hers. Stella pressed Abby for more information; Izabelle May was Abby's friend, they met regularly with 'the girls' at the Foxlands tennis club. Stella asked if she could meet Izabelle, Abby paused for a moment but then said it would be ok, she told Stella that they met for brunch every Sunday at the club. Sunday was tomorrow, Stella told Abby she'd meet them there.
Our heroes managed the crowd until Bay City PD turned up and took over. Afterwards, they gave Mason Woodrow a call and gave him a heads-up on the story. Later that day, Ditch got back to our heroes, he explained that without a warrant, Sapphire Spice couldn't be searched. Conjecture and rumour wasn't enough for the relevant government body to act.
Once their shift was over, our heroes returned to their lockers at Beach Patrol HQ, which is where Kenny caught up with them. He was wondering if they could do a favour for him. Kenny explained that a little while ago, he'd been hard up for cash and had borrowed some money from Brandon Allen, something of a shady loan shark. Kenny had missed a couple of the payments and Brandon's goons had taken his sports car in lieu of payment. Kenny was sure that his car was going to be chopped up by Brandon to sell on and out of spite too.
The car was being kept at Best Brand Motors, Brandon's auto business on Lower Street in Bay City Old Town. Kenny said that he was planning to wait until later tonight, then he would break into Best Brand Motors and steal his car back, but he needed some help, which is where our heroes came in. "No problem," said our heroes to Kenny. "Leave it to us." Kenny was a little taken back at being benched on his own scheme, but he handed over the spare keys to our heroes and wished them good luck. It was going to be a busy night.
How Do I Live
Brat's home was a pretty standard condo in a high-rise and of the kind that could found throughout uptown Bay City, our heroes knocked at his door but got no answer. Stella tried picking the lock but it eluded her. Our heroes thought about breaking through a window, but it would be too obvious with so many people around, they needed to think of something different. Art tried Brat's neighbour, she was a middle aged woman and was quite taken with him, inviting him in for coffee and cake, Art got the feeling that she was the kind of person who liked to watch her neighbours. He asked if she had seen Brat recently? She told Art that she hadn't seen Brat since last night, he came into his condo quite late, slamming the door and left again after a few minutes. Art asked her if anyone had been with Brat? She told him he had been alone but had heard his muffled voice talking to someone in his apartment. When Art asked her about a spare key to Brat's condo, she told him she didn't have one, but she knew Brat was friendly with Mister Morris who lived a few doors down and he might have it.
Our heroes went and spoke with Mr Morris, the older man seemed suspicious and stand-offish with them when he admitted to knowing Brat, but they managed to allay his fears, convincing him that they were his work colleagues looking out for him. Mr Morris took the key given to him by Brat and let them into his condo.
Inside, it looked fairly normal, if a little messy and unkept. Winter looked around, there didn't seem to be anything untoward here, she looked a little closer and found numerous tiny flecks of dried blood, they seemed concentrated around the front door and on a small pine side table holding the phone. Art picked up Brat's phone book and flicked through it, he noticed a smear of dried blood smeared on the 'N' entry and opened it up, a second faint smear trailed towards the name Chris Newton and there was a Bay City phone number next to the name.
Our heroes then rang Chris Newton and asked him for Brat, Chris Newton was clearly hesitant to speak with them and refused to acknowledge knowing Brat, our heroes told him that they were fellow lifeguards and gave him their names. There was a pause for a few seconds and then Brat came on the line.
Our heroes spoke with Brat, he said he was fine and that he was 'laying low' with a Chris in Bay City. Brat went on to explain that last Saturday, when he was out looking for dealers, he'd had a run in with a gang called 'The Brook Laners' in the nightclub 'Carbon', Brat was certain that they had something to do with the deals. Things went bad when one of the gang member had gotten stabbed after a knife was pulled on Brat. Then he ran for it, knowing that they would be out for payback, he headed home, got some stuff and went out to Chris' home. He told our heroes that he was going to stay out of sight for a while and avoid the Brook Laners. When pressed, Brat gave our heroes Chris Newton's address. Our heroes decided to take matters into their own hands.
Counting Blue Cars
Our heroes had to hang around a few hours until after 10pm before heading to Old Town and case out Best Brand Motors. It was supposedly, the oldest part of Bay City and its road network was lined with a mixture of clustered, mostly older, single-storey residential and commercial properties. Lower Street was a heavily travelled 4-lane highway that ran arrow-straight through Old Town and was Bay City's automotive centre, populated by a long strip of car dealerships, auto and body shops, as well as aftermarket outlets. By 10pm though, Lower Street had become less congested with fewer cars speeding along under the streetlighting
Best Brand Motors was situated on the corner of Lower Street and Prospect Drive. It was a grubby looking, smallish second-hand dealership with about 40 cars in the lot and was ringed by a 7 foot high chain link fence. Above the gate a faded sign read; 'Best Brand Motors, going to extremes to get you a car'. At the rear of the lot was a prefabricated, plastic, portable office, the lights were off and it looked locked. Conversely; the adjacent small booth was well lit, our heroes could see a security guard sat within, perched on a chair and engrossed with his newspaper, he was quite old, the kind of man who did some weekend work to supplement a meagre pension. Kenny's sports car was visible in the lot, it had been placed behind another car that would require moving before Kenny's car could be retrieved.
Our heroes quietly climbed over the fence and hid behind some cars, for some time they heatedly discussed a plan of action but couldn't agree on anything. Exasperated with it all, Art got up and approached the security guard. When he saw Art heading for him, he came out of his booth and told Art that he was on private property and had to leave, Art ignored him, blood drained from the security guards face. Art offered him a bribe to look the other way but he refused it, saying no one would be convinced that he didn't take one, Art said he had no choice, otherwise it might not go so well for him, the security guard started coughing. Meanwhile, Stella had crept up to the car blocking in Kenny's car and picked the lock, she was in. The situation with the security guard was worsening, he'd slumped back into his booth, pain contorting his face, one hand gripping his chest and the other reaching for a pill bottle, he spilled some into his hand knocked them back. Doc rushed over and looked the security guard over, he was reclining on his chair and breathing heavily, obviously suffering from some chronic health condition but Doc couldn't quite put his finger on it.
By now Stella had moved the other car and Winter was ready to take Kenny's car with his spare key, our heroes knew they couldn't dawdle, they were after all, stealing a car! Art looked round the security booth and found the keys to the lot's gate. Before they left, Doc put a call in to 911 and requested paramedics at the Best Brand Motor's address. It didn't take long to return Kenny's car to him.
Next, our heroes headed to Carbon in central Bay City, the nightclub was a trendy and popular venue that pulled in a large crowd and Saturday night was no different, our heroes had to queue for a while to get in. Once past the bouncers, they found Carbon had a steel-themed minimalist ascetic and was dim, noisy and packed with guests. Strobe lighting pulsated over the various dance floors and private booths as the DJ pumped tunes out of the club's massive sound system. Stella had her priorities, her eyes swept the nightclub for a dealer that could provide her with the exotic enhancement chemicals she sought and soon she had what she was looking for and had imbued it.
Carbon's door policy seemed very lax, The Brook Laners were easy to spot in their gang colours and 7 of them were hanging out at a booth. Our heroes discussed how to persuade them to lay of Brat. Now fully under the influence of the exotic enhancement chemicals, Stella got bored of waiting and decided to take matters into her own hands and somehow, in the middle of the nightclub, she'd managed to pull her underpants off! She brandished them at the rest of our heroes, shaking her raised hand and announcing that they were going to be the wick in the Molotov cocktail she intended to firebomb the gang member with! Stella span round and lurched perilously towards the bar, hunting for a bottle of spirits, the rest of our heroes were slack jawed for a moment before they could react. Doc grabbed Stella before she could act out her plan and after a brief struggle, she collapsed to the dance floor, falling asleep in a blubbery mess, snoring and muttering under her breath.
Winter and Art approached the Brook Laners and Winter told them that if they went for Brat, it would draw the ire of another gang. 'Which gang?', inquired the Brook Laners. Winter paused for a moment before replying, "The Wave Warriors." The Brook Laners looked on in confusion, they didn't know any gang in Bay City called The Wave Warriors? Instead it sounded like the name of a gang of kids who dealt with ecological issues during a kid's Saturday morning cartoon. The Brook Laners told our heroes that they only had 'beef' with Brat, our heroes discovered that the gang member who had been stabbed was still alive, having taken a non-life-threatening injury, they were looking to give Brat a good beating. Perhaps, our heroes surmised, they could still be reasoned with?
Art spoke with them and eventually they agreed to take $5000 to leave Brat alone and were paid from the cash-filled holdall that our heroes had previously acquired.
It was past 1am when our heroes exited Carbon, dragging a soporific Stella and her wayward pants with them.
Don't Worry Be Happy
When Sunday morning came around, Stella awoke with a low moan, she found herself slouched on her sofa with a dully throbbing headache and a mouthful of sawdust, looking at her wristwatch she saw it wasn't long until brunch, she laboriously pulled herself to her feet and headed for the shower. A little later and Stella was in her best tennis whites and plastic jewellery and ready to go.
A taxi dropped her off at the elaborately wrought iron gates to the walled Foxlands Country Club and her invitation got her through the smartly suited security guards. As she strolled up to the sprawling country club with it's well cultivated surrounding flower gardens, she couldn't help but notice the fastidiously maintained grounds lawns and water features, further away she saw a golf course and even a horse riding facility. Inside the club was adorned in gold-trimmed fixtures and features that decorated the wall and shelves, her high heels tapped rhythmically as she walked along the marble floor. Stella's plastic faux gold jewellery looked even more out of place here.
It wasn't hard to find Abby and her lady-friends at the tennis club, she was introduced by Abby to Izabelle and the others. Attractively dressed in cute tennis outfits that they never intended to play tennis in, the ladies sat at a table in the restaurant, drank cocktails and discussed gossip, boasted about boyfriends or husbands and generally engaged in conversation so vapid that even Stella, with her shallow, vacant personality found it all irritating almost beyond words. Eventually Stella bought the conversation round to Izabelle and slipped in a question about whale meat, Izabelle let Stella know that her brother Luis had told that his girlfriend had made an offhand boast about eating whale meat a little while ago, Abby explained that she became angry when hearing about it from Izabelle and had arranged to protest at Sapphire Spice. Stella pushed for the name and Izabelle told her it was Skyler Poole.
Once the brunch was over, Stella went her way, intent on never returning.
In the days that followed, Art gave some of the the money from the holdall to Kenny to pay off his debt to Brandon Allen. Then our heroes mad some inquires into the security guard from Best Brand Motors, his name was Ed Graham and he's spent a couple of days in the hospital; an anonymous donation from our heroes covered his medical costs.