Welcome, fellow air enthusiasts! This month, Air Action Weekly turns its eye to the Nation of Hollywood. Hollywood is a nation where adventure is waiting around every corner for a daring young pilot--you can spend the morning on an aerial tour taking in the astonishing blue vastness of the Pacific Ocean, dogfight with the dastardly pirates of Catalina and the Sierra Nevadas in the afternoon, and finish off the evening with dinner at one of Los Angeles' fabulous restaurants, where you're more than likely to catch a glimpse of the the beautiful and handsome celebrities of the silver screen such as Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow and Delores Del Rio!
But while the glamour and glitz of L.A. and its cavalcade of cinema giants is the first thing outsiders think of when it comes to Hollywood, there's far more than just Tinseltown to explore when visiting the West Coast! There's San Diego's beautiful beaches, elegant Spanish architecture and cutting-edge aviation industry; the awe-inspiring sight of fog rolling in across the Golden Gate in mysterious and elegant San Francisco, home to adventurers and shadowy gentleman and women of fortune from around the globe; and the majestic (and dangerous) redwood forests, lakes and mountains of the northern Disputed Territories, where hardy mercenaries and private militias clash daily to protect frontier lumber and fishing towns from the depredations of airborne rogues and the squadrons of Hollywood's northern neighbor and most bellicose foe, the nation of Pacifica.
Our intrepid travel reporter, Hollis Hauser, has spent the last six months flying the length and breadth of the West Coast's wealthiest nation preparing this guide to Hollywood's colorful history, tourist attractions and most famous cities and air squadrons (along with a descriptions of a few of the most desperate outlaws plaguing this young and rising nation!). In Part One, Hollis shares his experiences in Hollywood's southern city and first line of defense against piracy south of the Mexico border--San Diego.
Hello, aviators! This is AAW Travel Correspondent Hollis Hauser bringing you Part One of The Flyer's Guide To Hollywood. Our journey begins in the city known as "The Air Capital of the West"--the lovely seaside city of San Diego!
Founded in 1769 by Gaspar De Portla and Father Junipero Serra, San Diego was the first European settlement in the region of California. The settlement became part of the former United States in 1846 during the Mexican War. Between 1846 and the collapse of the United States in 1930, San Diego expanded to become a major port city and center of international trade and military center for naval power, serving as a base and training center for the U.S. Navy fleet.
Things To See In San Diego
San Diego is distinctive among Hollywood's major cities for its blend of ultra-modern development with its classic Spanish heritage and traditions. Balboa Park, one of the city's most popular destinations, is a popular arts and culture center that has hosted two international culture exhibitions--one in 1915 and another in 1935. Among its elegant Spanish-style buildings, visitors can visit theater performances, musical concerts, museums, one of the largest botanical gardens on the West Coast, and the city's innovative zoo, which utilizes carefully constructed viewing areas allowing visitors to view the animals in a recreation of their natural habitats in complete safety and comfort.
The Port of San Diego is a major destination for shipping. Visitors can often catch a glimpse of the warships of the Hollywood Navy in dock for repairs, or escorting merchant marine ships to safe harbor in order to deliver the constant stream of trade items and manufactured goods from abroad that are the Port's lifeblood. For the wealthy and affluent, short trips along the coast or longer sea voyages abroad are readily available aboard sleek cruise ships and luxury liners, escorted by watchful patrol ships and security aircraft.
San Diego's beautiful beaches are another popular destination, and there are few scenes as breathtaking as standing on the shore watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean wash across the golden sands of La Jolla or San Onofre. Water sports, especially swimming and boating, are popular and it's common to see the waters of San Diego Bay dotted with vessels ranging from sailboats to lavish yachts crewed by the wealthy and famous.
One activity that may strike visitors unfamiliar with Hollywood as peculiar is the new sport known as "surfing." Introduced to San Diego by Hawaiian expatriates in the 1920s, "surfers" swim out into the water with wooden boards. Balancing on these boards with great agility and daring, these colorful aquatic athletes then attempt to balance upright and use the momentum of incoming waves to speed across the surface of the water.
San Diego also has much to offer aviation enthusiasts. Not only was the city the takeoff point for Charles Lindbergh's historic 1927 transatlantic flight, but his record-breaking plane, "The Spirit of St. Louis" was manufactured by local firm Ryan Airlines. As a prominent coastal metropolis, San Diego has been a leading innovator in the use of seaplanes for both commercial and military purposes. The city's airport, Lindbergh Field, was the first North American airfield capable of serving both traditional and seaborne aircraft, and is used by many aviation firms for testing of new amphibious aircraft designs. Consolidated Aircraft, which produces the Albatross seaplane in cooperation with Hughes Aviation, uses Lindbergh Field as its primary headquarters and base of operations.
Hazards And Travel Risks
While San Diego is a beautiful city with much to offer visitors, it also suffers from the shadow of air piracy. Its proximity to the Mexican border makes the city and surrounding communities of La Jolla, Oceanside, San Onofre and Carlsbad popular targets for Mexico-based outlaw bands and occasional attacks by Mexican Air Force squadrons based out of Sonora and Baja. While the recent strike against Los Lobos Negros by the Hollywood Knights and Hughes Air Guard has drastically curtailed pirate activity in recent months, visitors are still advised to avoid flying, boating or driving outside of well-patrolled public areas and to register travel itineraries with licensed and fully secured tourism agencies.
Tourists are also advised to avoid certain neighborhoods south of downtown San Diego. Civil unrest in northern Mexico has led to an overflow of impoverished families fleeing the war zones and settling in a growing "tent city" in the area of Chula Vista. Now comprised of thousands of refugees escaping the fighting, the refugees have been refused entry into the city proper and as a result live in crowded, unclean conditions where crime and disease are becoming a serious problem. City officials have so far been unable to find a solution to the refugee situation, which may escalate into a major crisis soon if steps are not taken soon.
Notable Pilots and Squadrons
Comprised of a mix of Hawaiian expatriate pilots and local flying enthusiasts, the Waveriders are an all-seaplane squadron (primarily equipped with Skewer and Albatross aircraft) that have endeared themselves to the people of San Diego thanks to their vigilant defense of coastal waters and their eccentric dedication to aquatic recreation. Many of the Waveriders are highly skilled swimmers and boating enthusiasts, and have made their mark not only in the air performing daring offshore rescues and anti-piracy missions, but in local sailing and swimming competitions as well.
The new water sport of "Surfing" may sound bizarre to many of my readers, (it certainly looked strange to me when I first saw it!) but it's a sport that has caught on with many swimmers among the youth of San Diego, thanks to the influence of the Waveriders seaplane militia. A former Olympic diver, Waveriders leader Brody "Dolphin" Dunn took enthusiastically to surfing and it's caught on with his entire squadron. It's a common sight to see Waveriders seaplanes tied up at Pacific Point or Mission Beach while their pilots try to out-do each other in aquabatic feats of athleticism between patrols that often draw crowds of curious beachgoers. The fact that the Waveriders themselves are a fit and fine-looking group of men and women only fuels popular interest!
SPECIAL ABILITY (Optional): All Waveriders aircraft must be equipped with floatation gear. In any scenario that takes place over or near water (such as on the Seaport Map), the Waveriders player may ignore one failed Natural Touch roll made by one of his or her planes during the scenario (counting the roll as a success instead.) Waveriders also reduce the TN of any water landing attempt by 1.
Hollywood Knights 20th Century Fox Squadron, "Flying Foxes"
The recent conflict between Hollywood air units and the Mexican-based pirate band Los Lobos Negros around San Diego has caught the attention of the Los Angeles government, who have ordered the Hollywood Knights "Flying Foxes" unit to take up station in San Diego to reinforce the local militia squadrons.
Sponsored by 20th Century Fox, the Foxes, while a capable and effective unit, has always had something of a rivalry with Charlie Steele's original Knights unit, the Metro Marauders. Though the Foxes were praised publicly for their recent defeat of the Lobos pirates, in their eyes the threat is ended and posting them to what they see as little more than garrison duty has led to ill-feeling between the Foxes and other local squadrons, particularly the 2nd Hughes Air Guard, whom Foxes commander Jerry "Mayday" Mann views as beneath his social status as a scion of one of L.A.'s wealthiest families. Though they are highly skilled flyers with the best equipment, discipline has deteriorated since the unit was posted to San Diego, with some pilots reportedly breaking regulations to slip down to the infamous border city of Tijuana for illicit drinking and carousing--a court-martial offense among the local squadrons.
SPECIAL ABILITY (Optional): The Flying Foxes are equipped with the best equipment Hollywood has to offer. Once per game, the Flying Foxes player may select one of his aircraft and clear any jammed weapons on it without making a Steady Hand roll.
2nd Hughes Air Guard, "Coronado Flight"
Considered the premiere pirate fighters of the Southern Hollywood border, the 2nd Hughes Air Guard--commanded by veteran pilot Captain Rachel "Fire" Wood--has been under a great deal of pressure lately. A double major in languages and aerospace engineering at Harvard, Captain Wood is a topnotch administrator as well as a skilled pilot, but her outspoken manner and tendency to put her pilots ahead of politics often draws the ire of her superiors.
Despite her skill and the ability of her officers, as a private militia force Coronado Flight is held in some disdain by studio and government-sponsored squadrons. Howard Hughes was infuriated by the Lobos Negros attack on his San Diego holdings, though a recent joint airstrike took out the pirates' forward airfield near Mexicali. Hughes has been pressuring Wood to push south across the border and destroy the pirate's main base, rumored to be situated in an ancient hidden Aztec cave complex somewhere on the southern Baja Peninsula. Wood has publicly spoken out against the mission not only for the risk to her flyers in attempting to locate and destroy a fortified pirate haven with unknown defenses hundreds of miles from friendly lines, but also for the possible diplomatic consequences if Hollywood forces enter Mexican airspace in force.
Captain Wood has also generated controversy in the local press for her outspoken calls for humanitarian aid to the destitute refugee community in Chula Vista--a view that has frequently put her at odds with Flying Foxes commander "Mayday" Mann.
SPECIAL ABILITY (Optional): Coronado Flight is highly experienced at fighting pirates. In any scenario against pirate forces, Coronado Flight pilots add +1 to their Sixth Sense when tailing enemy pirate aircraft. Enemy pirate planes subtract -1 from their Sixth Sense when tailing Coronado Flight units.
SCENARIO: "Romeo Must Fly"
Jerry "Mayday" Mann of the Flying Foxes is a notorious rake and womanizer...but on a nightime excursion to Tijuana, he fell head over heels for glamorous Latina nightclub singer Gabriela De La Cerda. Unfortunately, one of the nastiest of the local pirate leaders--Victorio "Chavo" Vasquez--also has his eye on Gabriela, who desperately wants to escape the pirate's clutches.
Mann has secretly arranged to fly across the border and steal the waiting Gabriela from Chavo's clutches...but can the lovers escape before the pursuing pirates catch up?
SETUP: Lay out the Seaport Map. Place a token (penny, bead, etc.) on the tower obstacle on the center of the map-this represent Gabriela, who has climbed the tower and is waiting for Mann to rescue her.
Mann's plane sets up anywhere on the southern edge of the map (the edge with the "FASA" logo) at speed 2. His plane is equipped with any combination of ammo and rockets the player wishes.
Jerry "Mayday" Mann, Bloodhawk:
On turn 3, Vasquez learns of Gabriela's plan and takes to the air to stop her and Mann. Vaszquez enters the map on Turn 3 in the northernmost map hex on the "Crimson Skies" logo side of the map, facing south at speed 2. Because he was caught off-guard and took off before his plane was fully loaded, Vasquez is armed only with dum-dum rounds and 2 AP rockets.
Victorio "Chavo" Vasquez, Aguila:
On Turn 5, Vasquez' wingman enters the map in support of his boss flying a GM Tempest. He enters from any clear hex on the Crimson Skies logo edge of the map as speed 2. He is armed with AP ammo and 1 AP rocket.
Pirate Henchman, Tempest:
To win the scenario, Mann must do a flyby of the tower where Gabriela is waiting and perform a Speed "0" stall in any hex adjacent to the obstacle. This allows Gabriela to leap to the Bloodhawk and into Mann's waiting arms (Awww!). Once Gabriela is aboard, Mann must exit from his edge of the map to win. The pirates win the scenario if Mann's aircraft is shot down or destroyed.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the first part of an unofficial mini-sourcebook I've been writing for Hollywood. As this is my first time taking a shot at a major Crimson Skies nation-and my first time creating my own scenarios--criticism and feedback is most welcome.-Neo-Tanuki)