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Old 12-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #1
Agemegos
 
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Default [IC] Wear a Badge, Carry a Gun

FLAT BLACK

Wear a Badge, Carry a Gun

I don't think you understand. We aren't fooling around any more.

  • Premise: The date is AD 2975: 572 years after the Destruction of Earth. The Empire has ruled the spaceways for 111 standard years, but enforcement of its Imperial Crimes Act in the colonies has until now been up to local authorities, and "Imperial raps" have been a joke. Now at last the Imperial Senate has overcome its mistrust of the Imperial executive enough to create Imperial Courts with jurisdiction and Imperial marshals with police powers in colonial territory. The Independent Commission for Justice is trammelled with protections for colonial liberties, but it is a tiger compared with the vacuity that went before. Organising the Commission, recruiting and training staff has taken three years: Now it plans to hit the ground like a thunderbolt.

  • Genre: SF mysteries, mostly a hybrid of police procedurals with hard-boileds.

  • Setting: FLAT BLACK, a star-spanning dystopia optimised for rationalised planetary romances and a dark and cynical tone. More precisely, the party are posted as the ICfJ bureau on the planet Rohan.

  • Dramatis personae:
    • Agemegos (GM)
    • Icelander (Senior Investigator Specter Hart)
    • jmurrell (Investigator Dmitri Feodorovich Karapyetchenko)
    • ladyarcana55 (Investigator Kiloni Queldrona)
    • t@nya (Investigator Penthesilea Drake

  • System:
    • GURPS 4e
    • Space
    • Mysteries
    • Ultra-Tech
    • Bio-Tech

  • Related threads
    • This thread is for the actual events of the adventures. Only players ought to post here, and see "Procedure" below.
    • The thread for co-ordinating character's actions, discussing the events of the game, and throwing peanuts (but not at the viking hat) is [OOC] Wear a Badge, Carry a Gun.
    • The thread for questions, answers, and discussion of the GURPS stats of weapons, armour, and equipment is [Ultra-Tech] Weapons and kit for Flat Black.
    • The thread for discussing the setting of the adventures, FLAT BLACK itself, places in it such as Rohan, and institutions such as the ICfJ, is Background Flat Blackening.

  • Procedure:
    My intended schedule is to post at 00:01 GMT on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I'd like eighteen hours to compose my responses, so I'll ask each player to post at least once in response to each of my postings, once by 6:00 GMT Tuesday, once by 6:00 Thursday, and once by 6:00 Sunday. If you miss a deadline the world won't end, but I might not be able to take your character's actions into account in my ply.

    Player posts may be in first or third person. Narrative goes in plain text. Speech may be either reported or quoted, as seems good to you. Direct quotes should be in block-indented italics, and headed with the name of the character speaking in boldface, not indented. Where necessary, an indication of the character being addressed goes in parentheses after the name of the character speaking, in plain type. E.g.

    Milo Suract (to Penny)
    Pah! What are you going to do about it? Murdering Lillian is no Imperial offence, and I have a pardon from Governor Budreau for "any and all offences, crimes and misdemeanours" that I might have committed during my terms as police commissioner.
    Penny
    "Get 'em for the cover-up." The excavator you used to dig the grave was an Imperial asset, and the building site was Imperial property. I'm going to have you mindwiped for misappropriating fuel, use of Imperial assets for an improper purpose, and littering.

    Feel free to extrapolate inevitable events, and the presence, actions, and dialogue of spear-carriers and other minor characters. Even routine dialogue for significant characters. The worst that can happen is that I ask you to revise, right?

    I will often handle game mechanics (die-rolls etc.) myself. That is, rather than waste a ply asking you to make a die roll I will make the roll myself. Players should give a statement of intent in world terms. I will translate it into game mechanics, apply the resolution system, and report the results.

    In 9,401 I reported the game mechanics between "[fnord]" tags, but it was rather tedious, and I'm inclined not to mention game mechanics very much in WaBCaG, except perhaps for reporting mechanical effects on characters (ie. hit points of damage, knockdown, &c.)

    I will accept conditional statements of intent. Feel free to outline tactics as far in advance as seems good to you. I will let the stated course of action run as far as is possible and appropriate, and you can revise out the excess after you see my reply.

Take a deep breath. It may be your last.

Commencement in about three hours.

Last edited by Agemegos; 04-20-2009 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #2
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Default Prelude: Pegasus SHQ, Piraeus, Hip 111974

Prelude

The Imperial headquarters for Pegasus Sector is in Piraeus, a giant space station that orbits Metheglin, a habitable planet in the system Hip 111974, 107 lightyears from Sol in the constellation Pegasus. Piraeus is a titanic hollow cylinder three kilometres in diameter and nine long, rotating on its axis at 0.78 rpm to provide one standard gee of pseudogravity over the inhabitable surface. The hull is lined with three decks of residential, commercial, light industrial, and office space. The fourth deck is an enormous landscaped park: 85 square kilometres of gardens, sports grounds, plazas, and synthetic wilderness. Some of the trees are almost seventy years old. The park is dotted here and there with buildings, mostly intended as monuments and public art, though others conceal the lighting pylons that illuminate the opposite side of the cylinder in "daytime". Through a whim of the architects the style is mostly New Delhi order.

The park is split in two by a cylindrical wedding-ring lake. South of the lake is Administrative County, the working city of the Imperial Service. North of the lake is Capital County, a ceremonial city with the official palace of the Imperial Minister for Pegasus Sector, official residences for the agents of the colonies, meeting halls, court chambers for the Imperial Appeals Court ceremonial spaces, museums, art galleries, sculpture gardens, hotels, and premises for rent. The northern end is the place for colonial representatives, lobbyists, tourists, and in short, frankly, outsiders.

The inaugural graduating ceremony of the ICfJ Academy for Pegasus Sector will be held at noon on New Year's Eve, Monday the 31st of December, 572 PDT, on the northern shore of the lake, in Capital County. (Dress: formal)

kerning*kerning*kerning*kerning*kerning*

The last scheduled event of the course was dinner in the refectory on Saturday the 29th of December, 19:00 for 19:30 (mess dress). Dinner was unusually convivial, and not a few of the class got relaxed and comfortable, some even socially excited or tired and emotional. But the great majority went out after dinner and found a nightclub.

The schedule of the class up to that point had been punishing. Physical training at 06:30 til 07:30, an hour for breakfast and ablutions, lecture 08:30 to 09:30, classes and instructional exercises til 12:30, an hour for lunch (informal), lecture 13:30 to 14:30, classes and instructional exercises til 18:30, half an hour for ablutions, dinner (mess dress) at 19:00 for 19:30, lights out at 22:00. There had been no classes on Sundays, it is true, but students had been "expected" to socialise and relax by engaging in team sporting competitions. There had been no time for even the keenest party animals to go clubbing. So at about 21:30 this particular Saturday night the hundred soon-to-be graduates split into three streams. 20% staggered or slouched to their beds, the better to enjoy their first real day off in six months: tomorrow. 20% settled down in the anteroom for after-dinner liqueurs and spirits with the more simpatico members of the staff. And 60% wandered off in mess uniform into Administrative County, looking for night life, but not expecting much.
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Discussion of FLAT BLACK

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Old 12-07-2008, 10:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Prelude: Pegasus SHQ, Piraeus, Hip 111974

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agemegos
20% settled down in the anteroom for after-dinner liqueurs and spirits with the more simpatico members of the staff.
Kiloni is very happy to sit down with people outside of the curriculum and just talk about anything and everything except schoolwork. She spends a good part of the evening nursing a glass of brandy (or equivalent thereof). After the one glass, she will head off to her room to retire for the night.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:04 AM   #4
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Default Out on the town, Piraeus

Those characters who go out on town find things much livelier than they expected. Much, much, livelier. In fact, you'd have to say that the place was happening. Perhaps you've all been out of circulation for too many months, and your standards are slipping, but this seems to be a place. It's quarter to 22 on a Saturday night, and the cafés are buzzing. Some are playing music—in several there are live combos playing traditional instruments such as violin, cornet, and clarinet—and people are dancing, in some places singing. The Index shows two hundred dance clubs, grouped by style. There are karaoke clubs, open-mike comedy clubs, coffee-and-petanque clubs. The time is too late to catch a show, but apparently there are three running, including a revival of Threepenny Opera.

The remarkable thing is the people. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of people in brilliant, flamboyant, and often very scanty clothes, and not a single Imperial Service uniform in sight. Over there an athletic blonde in red tights and a gold silk brocade bolero jacket is dancing a smoking-hot tango with a dark man with hair like silver wire, whose slick obsidian costume has unmistakeably been sprayed on. Over here a distinguished-looking gent in ruched large-print paisley "balloon" pants and a a form-fitting sheer white top is chatting up a Byronically-haired youngster in a black velvet smoking jacket and while lace cravat and cuffs. Not only is it not Imperial uniform, but there is nothing even similar to Imperial uniform. In fact, nothing is similar to anything else. But on the other hand no-one gives the ICfJ graduands in their mess uniforms a second glance.

There are no bouncers, no cover charges. In fact, there are no charges for the food and drinks except for the alcoholic ones. It turns out that these cafés and the restaurants are Home Office refectories: the food synthesisers are part of the package that comes with Imperial Service salary. Where there is table service, it turns out that the waiters and busboys are highschool kids working for tips. Where there is live music, the musicians are amateurs performing for fun and acclaim.

The stream of new ICfJ agents splits up as people wander off in search of different things. One small group ends up in a faux 18th-century Athenian taberna, with where epheboi in sheer silk chitons and chaplets of violets fetch souvlaki, retsina, halva and syrupy coffee, a four-piece combo plays rebetika, and patrons of both sexes occasionally stand to dance a zeibekiko. Another group finds a salsa club. Another finds a dance party at an open-air swimming pool. There is a three-storey mini-mall where the ground floor and both mezzanines have been co-opted as a giant mosh pit. There is another where hundreds of pairs of people are playing Go and chess, often with onlookers. There is a refectory in a room with no walls (and whose roof seems a little frivolous), where a slender old man in black sings Leonard Cohen classics and accompanies himself on guitar, to the rapt but silent attention of the diners.

But there are some things that no-one finds. No-one finds a floor-show unless you count 'customers' dancing, No-one finds strippers unless you count the acres of flesh and paint and skindye on display. And no-one finds a brothel.
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Discussion of FLAT BLACK

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Old 12-08-2008, 04:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Prelude: Pegasus SHQ, Piraeus, Hip 111974

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyarcana55
Kiloni is very happy to sit down with people outside of the curriculum and just talk about anything and everything except schoolwork. She spends a good part of the evening nursing a glass of brandy (or equivalent thereof). After the one glass, she will head off to her room to retire for the night.
Conversation in the anteroom soon breaks up into settled groups of three and four. Kiloni finds herself with Happin Leigh (one of the Practical Law coaches) and German Surikano (the Piloting coach). They discuss possible postings in Pegasus Sector, the future of the Commission for Justice, economic and political development in Pegasus Sector, future growth and change of the Empire, etc. It is plain to Kiloni that both are attracted to her and interested in the social possibilities of whatever days there might be between now and her departure.

Both men are handsome in the bland and conventional way of male models in shaving ads. Neither is stupid, but neither is quite what Kiloni would describe as intelligent. Neither is gauche, but neither is really witty or charming. She deftly keeps the conversation impersonal, and prevents either man from getting the impression that he is making progress or that he ought to leave the field clear for the other. At 22:45 German excuses himself anyway, saying:

German Surikano
Ah well! "Carriages at half past ten"!
Kiloni finishes her cognac while he is saying his goodnights, and says that she too must be getting to bed.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:07 AM   #6
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Default Hart ventures out in the Administrative County

It is only with some effort that Col. Hart manages to avoid staying in to finish his statistical analysis of Pegasus Sector's main strategic threats to the Imperial Mission during the last century. He started the project as coursework, but it's grown into an interesting diversion that allows him to better prepare for whatever assignment he's given.

Two things drive him to attempt a more social evening than usual. One is the understanding that he'll be a more effective in his job if he manages to absorb not only the theoretical background of the Empire, but the more elusive intangibles of the mysterious esprit de corps Imperial servants seem to share. The other is a sense of ennui, a vague disquiet over abandoning the habitat at Pireaus and leaving all he's found there behind.

Hart sets out alone for the Administrative County. He might have looked for someone he knew who was heading for the nightlife, but it somehow feels inappropriate to attach himself to one of the gaily laughing groups of young people. Even though Hart is barely ten years the senior of the average graduant and there are people there even older than him, he still feels ancient compared to many of these people. Their sense of anticipation and adventure is admirable and infectious, but incompatible with Hart's more somber mood.

Despite that somber mood, Hart can't help but be impressed with the sheer vivacity of the Administrative County. New Eden has such places, whole quarters given over to a lively nightlife, but Hart rarely found occasion or time to visit them. Even as a young student, Hart was president of the chess club rather than a terror of the dancehalls. It has been a very long time since Hart has had no assignment or agenda other than to enjoy himself. And even longer since he has been able to do so without a secuity detail to keep him safe from dissidents.

Walking slowly along, taking in the sights and sounds, Hart finds himself curiously cheered. The evident enjoyment of the outlandishly dressed Imperials, young and old, seems to gently mock his own staid severity. Men and women both older and more august than South Oceania's Deputy Director (Internal Security) of the Homeland Aegis Directorade, Col. Specter Hart (ret.), showed no compuctions about throwing themselves wholeheartedly and unselfconciously into the festive spirit of the whole thing. Perhaps it would not be such a bad thing to sit down for a warm cup.

Hart finds a comfortable-looking place where the music is not too loud and orders tea. He's disappointed that the waiter has never heard about Eden red tea, but he accepts a strong black tea with a hint of cinnamon as a substitute. After the tea, he orders a small serving of apple brandy and leans back. His spirts are conisderably improved and he finds himself smiling at the incongruous image of the charming youth in the lace cravat and his paisley-panted companion. His disciplined mind, so focused on work, enjoys a well-deserved vacation from analytical thought.

Hart leaves the empty glass on his table when he stands up to leave. He settled the bill as he ordered, so he makes his way directly to the door. With a last look over the patrons, Hart leaves to continue his aimless ramblings. He feels greatly fortified and while he doesn't quite whistle in contentment, he is struck by a memory of a jaunty tune that a Trooper, First Class in his platoon used to draw from his fiddle when they had R&R.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Out on the town, Piraeus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agemegos
There is a refectory in a room with no walls (and whose roof seems a little frivolous), where a slender old man in black sings Leonard Cohen classics and accompanies himself on guitar, to the rapt but silent attention of the diners.
Penny sits at one of the tables, enjoying the music, and savouring a glass of fairly good wine.

She feels a twinge of guilt that she isn't, well, working, since she normally doesn't relax so early in the evening, but she shrugs it away. Today is a special occasion.

Having enjoyed several glasses of fine wine, and listened to the musician's entire repertoire of songs, she makes her way to bed.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wear a Badge, Carry a Gun

Bear wanders happily into the night shuffling from one place to another. At the taberna he downs an ouzo and jumps in for a zeibekiko turning in an energetic and surprisingly graceful performance.

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Old 12-09-2008, 06:04 PM   #9
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Default Piraeus on a Saturday night

After his zeibekiko Bear is approached by a tall, pretty woman of about fifty, applauding quietly. She is sparely fleshed on a frame that it would be a calumny to call "lanky", though it would be easy to imagine that she was once described as "coltish". Her shoulders, cheeks, and brow are wide, her eyes brown and well-spaced, and foxy-red hair is piled on the top of her head in artful confusion. She is wearing a black lace robe belted with gold rope over a tight cloth-of gold romper, gold ball drops, and gold dancing shoes.

Lisa Hermeline
Nice zeibo! I'm Lisa.
Bear Karapyetchenko (with a slight bow)
I'm Dmitri Feodorovich, but call me "Bear".
Lisa Hermeline
Hullo Bear. You're new to the Service, I take it.
Bear Karapyetchenko
Yes, for the second time. Ahh! The uniform! I was at a formal dinner 'til an hour ago.
Lisa Hermeline
On Saturday night! What a disaster!
Bear Karapyetchenko
Yes, but it's not yet midnight, the night's still young.
Lisa Hermeline
But not so young that you wasted time getting changed.
Bear Karapyetchenko
I don't like to waste time.
Lisa nods in agreement, and puts her half-finished drink on a vacant table.

Lisa
"Life is fleeting." Do you foxtrot?
Bear
Yes.
Lisa
Quickstep?
Bear nods.

Lisa
Then come with me! My date has two left feet.
She takes him by the hand and leads him hurriedly towards the exit. A handsome young man with shaving-ad features and tousled black wavy hair glances at her startled, and she waves a frivolous goodbye.

Lisa (to Bear, sotto voce)
Classmate. He's been handy for a few months, but he can't quickstep.
They hurry to a large open mall with two mezzanines and a large skylight, pressed into service as a ballroom. The lights are twinkly, the music gay, and the champagne sweet and fizzy. About two hundred couples are dancing a polka, half as many people are chatting at tables, and despite the labours of the air-conditioning the space is redolent with the spicy, floral, and musky scents of sweating Imperials. Bear proves surprisingly light on his feet for a big man, and passes a couple of hours with polonaises, waltzes, and foxtrots: Lisa insists on claiming him from all three quicksteps.

About half past two the throng is starting to thin, and during a slow waltz Lisa explains that it is time for bed.

Lisa
I have a very strict rule. I never sleep with anyone except after three dates or within three hours of meeting. And we probably won't have time for three dates before I have to ship out. So: I'm going home now. Coming?
kern*kern*kern*kern*kern*

At breakfast the next day (about thirteen in the afternoon), Lisa explains that she has just finished a six month intensive legal workshop preparing to practice at the bar in the new Imperial district Criminal Courts.

Lisa
... rumour has it that the top third of the class will be assigned as clerks for the judges, so I've been trying to keep my exam marks within the bounds of reason. But the moots have been brutal.

Anyway, results come out tomorrow, and postings. Some time in the next three weeks I'll be packed off to a colony (to be announced) for five years as either Public Defender or Imperial Attorney.
Bear
Me too!
Lisa looks minutely startled.

Bear
Well, not as a barrister. I'm going to be Imperial Marshal or (more likely) deputy. I've been in the ICfJ detective's quickie course.
Lisa
Oh, nice! There's about four percent chance we'll end up on in the same place, and have a sure partner for a decent quickstep.
Bear
And there's our graduation ball tomorrow night. Like to come with me?
Lisa
Sorry, I'm going with my ex. But if you don't mind squiring a schoolgirl my daughter would love to come on your invitation.
Bear
Delighted.
Lisa
If the ball is unbearably stuffy we can leave Liselle with her father and get ourselves thrown out for tangoing in Imperial dress uniform.
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Discussion of FLAT BLACK

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Old 12-09-2008, 07:27 PM   #10
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Default Piraeus: last Sunday in orbit

The following day is Sunday, when by tradition Imperial offices are reduced to essential functions and (as far as the needs of the Service allow) everyone gets a day off together. For the first time in six months the IFcJ Academy cadets have genuine free time. The "friendly" sporting tournaments are all finished, and the schedule shows only "Dinner, casual, 19:00—21:00. Supper, casual, 21:00—23:59".

The graduands who made better use of their Saturday night do not surface until noon. The habitual early risers and the social slow starters find themselves wakeful at 06:00, despite the silence of the reveille that has woken them every morning for six months. The corridors are at Standard Laboratory Temperature and Pressure as always, but in the part the air is cool, and there is dew on the trees and grass. Encouraged by the possession of six month's pay almost entirely unspent, or by the newfound knowledge that restaurants in IDJ are Home Office refectories, their food part of an Imperial servant's pay, the more lark-like graduands head out of find a pleasant café for a leisurely breakfast.

About 08:00 on Sunday morning the cafés are busy again, but a lot quieter and with a different clientele. There are a number of family parties: parents have collected their children from school for their day off, and are taking breakfast en famille.

A little later a wide range of amusements develop.

Retail spaces are open, though perhaps they are a bit strange: if one has one's card in one's pocket one simply takes what one wants and walks out: the price of items is automatically debited at the exits. The style consultants who help customers with the tailoring machines are free-lancers working for tips. On this busiest shopping day of the week the professionals are reinforced by students making pocket-money. Masseurs are plying their trade, and style consults are open to design and apply skintone and hairstyles.

Parties, couples, and solo hikers are walking the paths in the imitation wilderness, some in good boots setting forth on trails that lead high up on the hemispherical southern cap of the habitat. A sign at the head of each trail grades it for difficulty and declares a length and walk time. There are several funiculars that offer to take one up to the steep parts of the cap for rock-climbing, or to kiosks, restaurants, and picnic-spots with spectacular views.

Such clothes as people wear (the swimmers in the lake are not bothering with any, and some of the hikers are wearing only boots and socks) do not exhibit the fervent flamboyance of the Saturday Night party clothes worn last night, but they are light and casual, and most are boldly-coloured. The only Imperial Service uniforms in sight are worn by elderly Home Office Police patrolmen--and these are decorated with a number of medal ribbons that is perhaps surprising. There is still plenty of skin on view, but this morning most is toned in even natural tans, browns, and blacks. The shorts, and briefs, the slacks and capri pants, the tank-tops and collared tees leave it pretty plain that the population, though not all young and not all muscular, are all slim, and that epilatory treatments (probably semi-permanent ones) and skintone are in wide use

There are in-line skates for hire and kilometres of smooth paths to skate on. There are three different water-slide parks on the shores of the lake, besides swimming facilities between them. Rowing boats, canoes, and pedallos are available for hire.

The theatres are offering matinées for 14:00. One is a topical revue called Eos LXVII, apparently the latest in an annual series. Another is a live performance of an oratio by Handel, to be sung in the dead language German, called Die Schöpfung. And the third is a light opera in Chinese Acrobatic Revival style, Shiang's Eros and Makhistes. The Brecht is not offered in a matinée, though there will be a performance at 20:00.

Bandstands in the park hint at afternoon performances by brass or concert bands. There are tennis-courts for rent, and games of football, field hockey, and rugby to watch. But there is no golf-course south of the lake, and the Index shows the two in Capital County both booked out, with foursomes hitting off in close succession from 06:30 to 21:00. This reveals the dark secret of Piraeus: although the art of the landscape designers conceals the crowding, there are about 70,000 to 100,000 people engaging in outdoor recreations in only 54 square kilometres, and that doesn't leave room for golf.

Checking the schedule, one finds that a shuttle down to Metheglin or back up takes about half an hour each way.
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Discussion of FLAT BLACK

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