“Now, you guys, and of course you gals, you can relax. Treat this cottage - hah, cottage. Is 20,000 sq feet still a cottage? I don’t know. Anyway, treat it as you like. Not you, Richie, I’ve seen your place, but the rest of you.
“There are about 10 fridges filled with booze, food and weed, dive in. If it’s coke you need, then you’ll have to take the heli. and find Archie in town. He has a big cross on the building which doesn’t mean a church; that’s next door. The cops know him and sometimes use him when they are on ‘stakeouts.’ He’s a good guy and supports many cops that get injured at the hospital he built.”
Maxwell Tennant had brought his executives to his country place located in a relatively remote area in the hills for the long weekend. Unbeknownst to them, this was to be a testing time in more ways than one. He was planning to expand his business into an extreme adventure in foreign climes where they were not as stringent enforcing rules to govern behaviour that could lead to death for the animals as well as themselves. The possibility of dying will be emphasised in the publicity and would be actual.
M.T. had found there was a small but affluent body of rich adventurers having a blood lust running through their veins that the ‘cut and thrust’ of the business world was not satisfying enough to quell these impulses. He intended to put his own more courageous executives through the wringer to see if any would be capable of managing his next venture.
It was after midnight when an unoccupied part of the ‘cottage’ was blown out and actual bullets took out windows in other parts of the building. Screams and yells came from the guests and they rushed out of their rooms to confront their blood smeared and seemingly injured boss. Cuts were on his face and his clothing torn and he appeared dazed.
“What is happening,” yelled Tim, head of P.R.
“I don’t know,” said M.T. “It may be the druggies. They are serious pricks. Maybe a rival faction, but keep down, they mean business. Break open the armament’s room and let’s get armed for our own protection.” He had made sure there was only blank type ammunition available.
All of the executives had already had training in handling guns, both rifles and hand-guns, so they didn’t look like fish out of water. But before they could plan any sort of strategy smoke bombs shattered windows and exploded driving them out of the building. Bullets passed near to them and hit into trees and even felling some small branches.
“Scatter,” said Jamie. “We’re sitting targets bunched up like this. Did anyone think to grab a cell-phone?” Nobody did. “I’m going to crawl back and get mine. We’ve got to bring the police into this. Christ almighty, these bastards seem intent on killing us.”
Jamie succeeded in getting his cell-phone, but M.T. had rigged up an electronic device to render any calls impossible. The generated static, Jamie concluded, was set up by the attacking party to guard against this calling contingency. However, the static very likely was localised, he would go further up the steep hill behind him to find a signal. He was successful and called the police, who in turn called upon the military.
M.T. knew the game was up when he saw military helicopters approaching and he fired two flares into the air and the mayhem ceased.
The ‘attacking’ party melted away, happy with the amount of money M.T. had given them for providing the fun-time exercise. No doubt he would explain how he would make their exercise a little more ‘foolproof’ at some later time.
Maxwell Tennant was a plausible man. He explained and apologised that he had not alerted the local authorities of the exercise, but he thought the use of bombs and live rounds would have been frowned upon by the local people. He agreed to cover all costs for the ‘rescue.’
A ‘post-mortem’ of the event took place the following week, wherein M.T. explained his intention of using the event to find which of the courageous among them might be suitable and willing to head the adventure company. There was no remonstrating from any of his executives, they were able to see the funny side, finally, as well as having high-paying jobs.
Jamie Roster was eventually selected to be the CEO of the project against no opposition and approached it with enthusiasm. He contacted and made arrangements with ‘bent’ game-wardens and poachers to wipe out some of the protected species. They would leave the sought-after ivory, tusks and skins for the poachers where they were shot. He became very adept at double-speak with some government people and learned the language that smoothed the way for the venture to go forward. M.T. approved of the arrangements made and booked for himself to go on the first excursion.
Three very rich adventurers booked to go on the hunt and experience real danger. Not every poacher in these wild-game countries liked the arrangement and some were jealous of the largesse that was not going their way. They could see their own activities would be limited and vowed to not fade away into oblivion, but the encroachers would.
Jamie Roster had an adventurous spirit and would accompany every expedition and leave any paper-work to people more suited to it.
The adventuring party flew in on M.Ts. Gulfstream to a private airfield. They were met with guides that would take them into the more remote areas that wouldn’t cause as much embarrassment to the authorising civil servants. They camped on a plateau the first night and as they drifted to sleep they heard the sounds of animals that they would be decimating, or attempting to, the following day.
They had many guides so split into four separate groups with J.R. and M.T. travelling together with three guides. M.T. was impatient and threw caution to the wind and J.R. felt on this initial trip he had better withhold any suggestions of reluctance and acquiescence should be the watch-word.
The lions in this seldom travelled area were not used to seeing two-legged food travelling without taking any precautionary tactics to elude them, so quickly caught them before they could defend themselves or run away, and ate them.