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Old 02-22-2015, 02:27 AM   #9
tshiggins
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the second session of "Facets," tonight. Things got pretty violent.

Characters Present:

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Francis "Jeb" Stuart -- an anti-federal government survivalist and gas station attendant, who believes strongly that local communities should be self-sufficient, and thinks 4CSAR epitomizes that ideal (plus, it provides health insurance) -- Played by Tod H. (absent this week)

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. She has a pet pig named Master Oink of the Porcine (just a pet and not an ally, trained to fetch, carry things and squeal when alarmed, meant mostly for comedy relief) -- Played by Samantha H.

Dr. Arthur Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon subdevelopments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house -- Played by Anten S.

Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed -- Played by Chris L. (absent this week)

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog) -- played by Bernetta W.

----

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson spent the whole day of June 19, 2014, at an academic conference in Salt Lake City, and didn't get home to Moab, Utah, until nearly midnight. She wound down from the trip and went to bed, woke up the next morning and finally checked her voice-mail at 8 a.m. At that point, she learned that Four-Corner Search-and-Rescue Commander Pete Munroe had initiated the phone-tree, and had asked that all available volunteers come to the station by 5 a.m. -- three hours past. Cursing quietly, Dr. Johnson grabbed her kit and reached the station in a less than 10 minutes and found Vice Commander Bertie Meyer holding down the fort.

Meyer gave Henrietta a brief rundown of the situation, and then sent her down to the incident command post in the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area set up by the commander, and Grand County Sheriff Allen Brown. Henrietta hopped back in her trusty, dusty jeep and arrived at the post in a bit more than an hour. Upon arrival, Commander Munroe introduced her to the Feds, and advised her that the team had tracked the suspect, "Seņor AKA" with his cargo bicycle to the edge of the canyon. Apparently, the suspect had made the bizarre decision to take the 100 kilos worth of loaded cargo bicycle into the rugged canyon, and he offered Johnson the choice of either joining the perimeter guard, or trying to catch up with team.

Johnson figured she could travel alone much faster than the group of six people (plus a pack-pig), and elected to follow them. She reached the edge of the rock-slide area, and noted the inexplicable disappearing/reappearing bicycle tracks, and quickly deduced that the team had been just as confused by that. Dr. Johnson trotted down the steep, narrow trail, reached the floor of the tributary canyon, searched around a bit after noting the suspect (and team) had walked in the stream-bed for awhile, but then found where it continued.

She reached the slot canyon into which the group had disappeared, followed, found the excavated passage to the west, slid down the slope and walked into academic tenure.

The chamber at the end had wholly new and undiscovered petroglyphs that matched those left by the Ancestral Pueblans (Anasazi), and Johnson realized she could get at least three publishable papers out of it, because the presence of the new petroglyphs forced re-evaluation of the purpose of the rest of small, previously-uninteresting ruins that dotted the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area.

Dr. Johnson pulled out her phone to take some pictures, and found the screen had gone to static. She then pulled out her digital camera, and saw the same thing. Swearing not-so-quietly, she pulled out journal and made some notes. She also noted the presence of the western passage out, and followed that -- straight into a for-sure, no-kidding Doctorate of Anthropology based on what would be a ground-breaking discovery.

The uncannily straight walls of the slot canyon had four sets of petroglyphs that likely dated back at least 600 years, but which featured symbols not seen anywhere else. Most significant were several sets of "sun-cross" creation wheels that bore a powerful resemblance to those found at sites in the Middle East that dated back to the Bronze Age.

Johnson worked her way slowly up the canyon, making notes and rubbings, until she reached the halfway point. At that point, the mist rose and her head started to pound with a bad headache. She paused a moment, took some ibuprofen with some water, and continued up the slot. She reached the next set of petroglyphs, glanced back and saw that the mist had vanished, and suddenly heard a fusillade of gunfire from the other end of the passage.

The archaeologist rushed the next hundred yard, cautiously walked up the last 20, found her companions gathered around the bodies of the two large humanoids, and heard Randy Shoop's distressed comments about the violent events that had just occurred. She joined the team, heard the story, checked the cave used by the humanoids, and found much more primitive and simplistic petroglyph carvings in a dark corner.

The group started to follow the bicycle trail out of the box canyon via the opening to the north. The group decided to pick up the pace so as to catch up with Seņor AKA before dark. Deputy Diego Torres turned his ankle and Arthur stayed back to help him, just as Beatrice (the helicopter mechanic) asked if anybody else noticed the absence of contrails from military aircraft, no national guard choppers, nor any commercial jet traffic, even though southern Utah lay on a fairly direct route between Denver and Las Vegas.

The group continued, and after a bit saw tracks of a half-dozen ponies cross the bicycle trail from the east, and then turn north to follow it. Doc Bascher noted the ponies were shod in a disgracefully inadequate fashion (one didn't even have shoes, at all), and all had riders. The group waited for Torres and Jamison to catch up, moved forward a little more carefully, topped a rise, and saw three American Indians and a red-headed teenage boy dismounted and holding the reins of the six ponies.

The SAR team started down the slope (led by an irritated Doc Bascher), and then pulled up short when Indiana noted that all four of the strangers had faces painted in ways that resembled an Apache war party from the 19th Century. The group sent Dr. Johnson ahead to speak with them and, as she approached, one of them gave a loud whistle. Two other Apaches came down the opposite slope, and were waiting when she arrived.

Johnson and Deputy Torres noted that the group wore ragged sombreros and seemed to be armed with weapons out of a John Ford western. The deputy also noted that not one of the Indians, or even the red-headed teenager, wore blue-jeans. Instead, they wore old-style Spanish or Mexican pantaloons that buttoned up the sides.

The leader of the Apaches expressed some disdain about the notion that the team had sent a woman to talk to him, but seemed reasonable enough despite the war-paint. The rest of the group joined and learned the Apaches were after the person with the bicycle, because he had violated the boundaries of their sacred lands. The confused group made queries, and were flabbergasted to learn from the Apaches that the year was 1918, and they were the northern territories of the area west of the Rocky Mountains claimed (but seldom actually administered) by the Colony of New Spain.

After more confused discussion, the flabbergasted Apaches figured out that the Hispanic Diego was a lawman with the United States. They informed him that nation's borders extended no further than the Continental Divide. However, to the carefully-concealed surprise of the other Apaches, the leader told him they'd leave Sr. AKA to the pursuing team. They all mounted up, and trotted away south, back along the trail.

(Continued, next post)
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