Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Austin 'A-Square' Anker
 player, 77 posts
 US Army SSgt.
 keys138
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 18:57
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming

"Works for me," Austin shrugs at Mesa's suggestion to go home and fight another day.   "I think we're going to have to come back down here and do some deep scout work, but it probably doesn't make sense right after they've seen our vehicles.  And we've got a little time before they come calling on Hatch again.  If we don't get down here first, we can help the town get ready."

The scout has a half-humorous/half-terrifying vision of the various members of his family rocking full Three Amigos style sombreros and Mariachi outfits shooting at Mexican bandits with revolvers and rusty rifles.  Of course if all that's true, then the seniorita will have to be played by- No.  No she isn't.  Don't go there.  His mother had skirted the topic, left him hints that she could answer certain questions, questions he had no intention of asking.

Austin shakes his head to clear his thoughts in an anxious tic.  "Well I suppose motorcycle dust tastes a little better than truck dust.  Less gamey."  He starts climbing back up to the gun mount and stores his gear for the ride home.
Raellus
 GM, 209 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 18:08
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Mike Carswell:
He lowers his voice. "Somebody should probably talk with Mr Gerard as well. Fuck knows where his head is at right now." After all, the guy just killed his wife. The Chief looks over at Jenny-Lou. "Does he have any close friends?"

"Not that I know of. He pretty much keeps to himself, him and the Mrs." she trails off, the reality of Mrs. Gerard's horrific death really sinking in, "Well, you know what I mean. He's kind of a grump, is a nice way to put it."

Gerrard is nearly insensate, hopped up on a powerful mix of rage, grief, and regret. It's likely that he was partaking of the eth he used as an accelerant. He'll be no good to anybody, himself included, for quite some time.

Then there's the matter of the prisoner. He's gunshot and burned, but he'll live. If he's really from a banda, the Nationalists in Las Cruces probably won't miss him. If he's returned, he might be able to spin his tale to paint Rincon in a decidedly unfavorable light. Keeping him presents a whole new can of worms.

Recon Team

With Roadrunner in the lead, the recon team heads back to Hatch. The journey is dull, but due to that odd sense of time contraction that comes with most return legs, seems shorter.

Hatch is awake when they return. There's a tractor kicking up dust in a field half-a-mile north of the 26. A few pedestrians are out and about in the town, going about their business, such as it is nowadays.

The armed Toyota gets some attention. Folks on the street start walking faster, changing course abruptly, and getting quickly indoors if they can. If people didn't believe Billy before- he's certainly spread word of his encounter- they certainly will now.


OVER.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:12, Sat 22 Apr 2017.

Mike Carswell
 player, 172 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 18:57
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Carswell takes off his ballcap, runs one hand through hair that is worn longer than any military regulation would normally permit, looks back over at Ben Gerard. Poor bastard. Poor fucking bastard. Realization dawns on the Navy Chief that there is no fucking way that he can even begin to imagine what is in that dude's head right now. "I've got stuff in my bag that will put him out for a while." he muses, still looking over at Gerard. He shrugs. "If he'll take it. I don't want to force the guy, you know?"

"As for him..."
his eyes shift to the wounded Mexican. "Ms Ryan, can you give us a moment please?" She could probably work out the next part but she didn't need to hear it. He took a few steps away from Jenny-Lou, waited for Emily and the elder Ryan to join him. "As far as I'm concerned that bandit is responsible for this. Mrs Gerard's blood is on his hands just as though he'd killed her himself." To say nothing of what other crimes he might have committed, here in Rincon or elsewhere.

"The way that I see it, punishment should fit the crime." After they'd interrogated him of course. "But maybe we should see what the locals want to do?"
Tom Ryan
 player, 53 posts
 Former Army LRRP
 mark101
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 19:42
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Tom nodded, "The locals definitely need input, perhaps we could offer to take him back to Hatch if they'd rather the bigger town dealt with it. Maybe Mesa would like a word with him before we execute any frontier justice that the locals would like."
Mike Carswell
 player, 176 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 16:23
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Carswell's shoulders form a shrug in reply. "OK, I'll leave the prisoner to you guys for now. I'll go see if I can do anything for that poor bastard." The Chief nods his head towards Ben Gerard. "Emily, you got my bag there?"

Once he's retrieved his OD aid bag from Emily, the Navy Corpsman will walk towards Ben Gerard, politely but firmly easing any curious townspeople out of the way with a smile, a nod, and a murmured "I'm a paramedic. I'm going to try and help him." Paramedic seems like the best way to self identify right now. He really wants to tell them that the United States Navy is in town, and they're going to kick some Mexican ass. But he's mindful of what they'd discussed before they'd entered town. For now discretion was the best way forward. And besides, it wasn't as if he had a Platoon of Marines at his back. Now that would be nice. But as it stood telling the townspeople who they really are would just be offering them false hope, making a promise that they couldn't deliver. Not at the moment at least.

Quite what help he could offer to Gerard he had no idea. He's no shrink. His training was focused on physical wounds, not mental ones. One at him look is enough to convince Carswell that there's little likelihood of getting anything rational or coherent out of him. But he has to try. He can't just leave the dude like this. "Mr Gerard, my name is Mike Carswell. I'm a trained paramedic. I'm here to help, sir. I just want to have a look at you, see if you need any medical attention. Is that OK?"

Come on, dude, don't fight me, work with me. Carswell really doesn't want to use force on the guy. But subterfuge is another matter. He's quite willing to slip a sedative in with a painkiller if he can.

Carswell
Attempting to give Ben Gerard a check up
Hoping to be able to give him something to calm him down (1 x strong sedative) in the process

This message was last edited by the player at 16:24, Sun 23 Apr 2017.

Emily Nash
 player, 50 posts
 USAF O3
 Spartan-117
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 17:28
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Emily slowly approached the assembled locals.  She introduced herself to each, simply stating that she was Emily from Hatch.  She asked if they had a local magistrate, or how this would normally be handled in their community.  She wasn't eager to hijack their process, but if it seemed like they were unsure of what to do, she offered that her team could take the Mexican bandit, as they were capable of seeing him returned to Albuquerque for justice.  Emily offered no details on transport, but let them assume it would be by horse back.  She also asked how they would prefer to deal with Gerard as well, though she offered no specifics regarding how her team could be of long-term help.  They weren't her to fix all the problems in the world and in any case, it would be useful to see how their community might want to handle the issue, before offering any suggestions or options.
Raellus
 GM, 210 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 20:54
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming

Mr. Gerard doesn't resist. All the fight has been drained from him. He sits, head bowed, on the steps of a neighboring house, its owners and a few other neighbors standing around him, unsure of what to say. The broken man complies wordlessly, his movements almost mechanical. He takes whatever pills Carswell offers him, but refuses to speak. Mike notices some redness and blisters on the man's hands.

Emily learns that law enforcement in Rincon is handled by Hatch PD. It's clear that nothing quite like this has happened here in some time. No one seems quite sure what to do, but everyone seems fairly content to let the newcomers to take care of the wounded prisoner.

"What about Gerard?" a older woman asks.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:13, Sun 23 Apr 2017.

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 93 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 00:23
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
As the recon team enters town, Gabe throttles down from convoy highway speed.  He doesn't expect an ambush or a length of piano wire strung across the road, exactly, but he doesn't not expect something, either.

At the first major intersection, he does a slow 360º while waiting for the command truck to catch up.  Idling next to Mesa's window, he raises his helmet to be heard and calls, "Back to base, Captain, or is this a good time to make contact with the mayor?"  He doesn't bother to point out that going back to the Beridze farm will make the team's connection unmistakable.
John Mesa
 player, 113 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 00:47
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Gabriel Zhou:
As the recon team enters town, Gabe throttles down from convoy highway speed.  He doesn't expect an ambush or a length of piano wire strung across the road, exactly, but he doesn't not expect something, either.

At the first major intersection, he does a slow 360º while waiting for the command truck to catch up.  Idling next to Mesa's window, he raises his helmet to be heard and calls, "Back to base, Captain, or is this a good time to make contact with the mayor?"  He doesn't bother to point out that going back to the Beridze farm will make the team's connection unmistakable.


"I'd rather the locals don't have too much time to speculate. I don't want a mob showing up at the farm with pitchforks and torches. Now's probably as good a time as any."

"Anker, you ready to make the introductions?"
Mesa wants to capitalize on the connection between Saber Troop and the locals.

After Anker responds, Mesa tries to make contact with the recovery team. Hopefully, they're within five miles and not in the shadow of the high ground that hems in the Rio Grande valley.

"Saber six to Saber Five. Do you copy? Over."

It looks like the two groups are just out of range of one another, but if the recon team heads a little further east, and/or the recovery team starts to head back towards Hatch, the two groups should be able to make contact by radio.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:52, Mon 24 Apr 2017.

Mike Carswell
 player, 178 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 09:02
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Given the fact that Gerard isn't being aggressive Carswell decides to hold back on a sedative for now, not least because he wants to try and conserve what drugs he has, only use them when they're absolutely necessary. "Ok, Mr Gerard, I'm going to do something about these burns, OK, Sir?"

The medic offers the guy a brief smile as he opens up his aid bag, begins to assemble the items that he's going to need to treat the local's hands. He doesn't even know if the guy is listening, whether he's comprehending what the Corpsman is telling him. Going by the look on his face he's in a whole different place right now, and it's not a good one.

The Navy Chief is vaguely aware of someone asking about Gerard as he works, but Em seems to have the civil affairs thing in hand so Carswell concentrates on treating the guy's wounds.
Austin 'A-Square' Anker
 player, 78 posts
 US Army SSgt.
 keys138
Thu 27 Apr 2017
at 15:59
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
As they roll back into town, Austin's eyes track the people on the streets in some weird combination of looking for people he knows and the muscle memory of looking for threats in all the different nooks and crannies.  He's fairly certain no one will recognize him as of yet with his helmet, goggles, and scarf for dust.  And that's just fine.

"Happy to make introductions, sure," Austin says to Mesa.  "I think we should stop by my mom's first though.  Might be helpful to have her do the formal introductions to the Mayor.  She says he's all right people, but it probably wouldn't hurt to have her there.  At least initially since I don't really know the guy.  Won't take long," he says, answering the time concern before it comes up. "She's up baking already I'm sure."

It feels good to be back in Hatch even after only having been gone for a few hours.  The looks they're getting from the public don't feel as good, even if they are to be expected.  No one knows who they are yet and Austin is sure that any stranger with a gun is going to get treated like a potential problem, like one more group coming through trying to take something that doesn't belong to them.  It's enough to make him wish he had some hard candy to throw at the kids like a parade float instead of a gun truck.

We're here to help! he wants to yell.
Tom Ryan
 player, 54 posts
 Former Army LRRP
 mark101
Sat 29 Apr 2017
at 07:28
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Tom hadn't strayed far from Jenny-Lou whilst things went on, he tried to stay professional but found it hard to wipe the soppy smile from his face. When it came to working out how they were getting back to Hatch he turned to Jen. He wanted to tell her she was coming, to never let her out of his sight, but his little girl was a woman now, more than that, she was a survivor. She got to make her own decisions.

"There's a recon unit of the New Mexican State Guard back in Hatch," he explained, "they're trying to figure out what sort of mess this neck of the woods is in and then see how they can help. We have to report back and take the prisoner to them."

"Do these people have horses? If they do, we can take Mr Gerrard and the Mexican back although we'd probably need a couple of other riders to come with us to bring the horses back here when it's over."

He looked at her, "Are you finished on your rounds? If you are, you could head back with us if you wanted, your knowledge of the trails would be very helpful."
Raellus
 GM, 214 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 29 Apr 2017
at 16:18
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Tom Ryan:
"There's a recon unit of the New Mexican State Guard back in Hatch," he explained, "they're trying to figure out what sort of mess this neck of the woods is in and then see how they can help. We have to report back and take the prisoner to them."

"Do these people have horses? If they do, we can take Mr Gerrard and the Mexican back although we'd probably need a couple of other riders to come with us to bring the horses back here when it's over."

He looked at her, "Are you finished on your rounds? If you are, you could head back with us if you wanted, your knowledge of the trails would be very helpful."


"A couple," Jenny-Lou answers in response to Tom's question about the horses, "But I doubt they'll lend us one for him." she adds, in reference to the prisoner. "This mess could get them into a lot of trouble. I still need to finish up here, but this is my last stop, so I'll catch up in a couple of hours. Ok?"

-
Raellus
 GM, 215 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 29 Apr 2017
at 16:59
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming

The recovery team, mission accomplished, heads back towards Hatch, prisoner in tow. The cavalcade has only gone a short distance when the radio blares to life. It's the recon team, recently returned from their brief sojourn down Deming way.

Both teams share as much information over the airwaves as basic opsec allows, and a new rendezvous point is established. The prisoner, forced to walk behind the horses for the first couple of miles, is loaded into the back of Yosemite Sam and the vehicle heads back to the Beridze farm to wait for the others (it's only 5 miles from Rincon to the unit's ersatz base, so there's not much of a wait)*. From there, Saber troop take both Toyotas into town, heading for the town hall by way of the Anker bakery. The convoy is intercepted by a Hatch PD SUV along the way but no attempt is made to stop the heavily-armed interlopers.

The town hall is a very modest building at on the northeast corner of Franklin and Hall. The mayor's office is small and filled with family photos and various chile-related curios. Full-sized flags occupy the corners of the room behind the mayor's desk- an American flag on one side, a New Mexico state flag on the other.

Mayor Sanchez is a small man with a head of thick, black hair and a pencil-thin mustache, clad in typical, modest western wear- a patterned button-down shirt tucked into dark blue jeans, and well-used cowboy boots. Chief of police Michael Avila stands at the mayor's right side. The two men look to be about the same age. The welcoming committee is rounded out by a young woman, Caucasian, that Anker and Emily recognize as Erin Pope (né Saxman), former Hatch Chile Queen.

Mayor Sanchez introduces himself and his confederates, his sentences ending in a slight upward lilt. He then asks the newcomers' business in Hatch. Mesa explains that Saber Troop is a NMSDF recon team tasked with gathering intel on Mexican and potentially friendly forces in the region. Sanchez shares what he can, which isn't much more than Jess Beridze has already. The one thing of significance he does add is the approximate strength of the Nationalist contingent in Las Cruces- between 500 and 1000 men (closer to the larger figure, he reckons) and several armored vehicles, including two tanks. He thinks the Alliance force in Deming is slightly smaller, but he hasn't been down there himself. He agrees with Beridze that the Alliance is the bigger problem, as far as Hatch is concerned. He claims to have a decent working relationship with the Mexican commander in Las Cruces; not so with the Alliance's CO.

*Gerard refuses to accompany the Sabers. His neighbors agree to keep an eye on him until Hatch PD can come fetch him. They seem uncomfortable having the arguably unstable man around.


OVER.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:56, Sat 29 Apr 2017.

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 94 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 11:56
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
The temptation to crack his throttle a few times, just to see how the cops react, is strong.  Gabe grins under his helmet but masters his impulsiveness.  Stealthy.  Pay attention to the gun truck, Officer, I'm just the dude on the recon vehicle we use when fuel economy is a concern.  Which thought raises an interesting question about just how good the town's fuel supply is if - even after the Mexican predations - they have enough to run police patrols.  I'll bet they aren't writing speeding tickets any more.

As the trucks shut down and the adult supervision files into the town hall, Gabe doffs his helmet and swings off the bike.  The long gun stays in its case but he pulls the H&K from its scabbard alongside the fuel tank and slings it across his chest.  He drops Yosemite Sam's tailgate, boosts himself up to sit on it, and gives the officers in the Cherokee a cheerful grin.  Okay, so let's see how long it takes you guys to get curious or assertive.  He idly glances at his watch, making a mental bet that they'll initiate conversation within six minutes.  That's about as long as it usually took him to get bored when he was in their shoes.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:58, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

Erin Pope
 player, 2 posts
 Former Army Captain
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 12:28
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Erin Pope stands on the opposite side of Avila, her arms folded, listening wordlessly to the opening exchanges between Sanchez and Mesa. She's wearing blue jeans, a black button down shirt, sleeves rolled up, worn outside her jeans, other than at her left him where it's tucked in, exposing a brown leather holster attached to her belt, the butt of the revolver that rests snugly in the holster clearly visible. The shirt shows evident signs of mending. Under the shirt there's a long sleeved t shirt that would have been described as white by Macy's when they sold it but is now closer to gray, while on her feet she's wearing desert tan boots, suede leather over mesh. A ring is visible on the fourth finger of her left hand, a slender gold band inlaid with three precious stones.

The first thing she'd noticed when Mesa and his compatriots had entered Pedro Sanchez's office had been the stetson. Cavalry. Inevitably it made her think of Greg. Her husband had been wearing his stetson the last time she had seen him, the morning that she had left Fulda. If Mesa had been with the Blackhorse she would maybe have recognized him but there was nothing familiar about him at all, she had no clue whether he had served in Europe or not. If he had he had obviously been luckier than Greg, had made it home. Erin couldn't help the momentary flash of bitterness that thought prompted, even though she knows that it really wasn't fair on Mesa. He had made it home, Greg hadn't. And that's all she wrote.

Blue eyes flick from the Cavalry Captain to the men and women with him as Sanchez tells them what he knows about the Mexicans further down the road. Erin's part curious, part wary. It's been a while since they've had any visitors from up north. And what she has heard of the NMSDF...well, enough said. Still, you probably shouldn't believe everything that you hear. Should you?

And besides, while she doesn't recognize most of them, they're not all unfamiliar. Austin Anker? Is that really you under that beard? Their paths had crossed a few times at High School, although they hadn't really been part of the same crowd. But her mom and dad had bought deer from him on more than occasion. Without asking where it had come from. And these days Erin's mom got on pretty well with Mrs Anker. Everybody kind of had to help each other out. The woman with them also looks vaguely familiar, but for now at least Erin's struggling to put a name to her face.

By now Mayor Sanchez has finished talking. Erin's eyes move back to Mesa. "So, there you have it Captain Mesa. We've told you all that we know about the Mexicans. So what are your plans now?" Her tone is neutral. "You realize that people are talking? They know you're here but don't know who you are. All they've seen are another group of armed men." There's no challenge in her voice, just a simple statement of fact as she looks at those gathered in Sanchez's office. "Some of you in uniform, some not. You can understand that some folks are bit jittery right now."
Mike Carswell
 player, 179 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 13:02
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Carswell has opted out of the trip to see the Mayor, stayed back at the Beridze place instead. The Navy Chief wasn't about to let Private Sargent look after a prisoner on his own again. Not after the last time. There is no way they can risk this guy getting loose, getting away, bringing his buddies back to either Rincon or Hatch. While the Corpsman knows that there's value to be had interrogating him, he still thinks the little fucker is lucky he's not already dangling from the end of a rope.

So after the others have left Carswell leaves his rifle in Jess Beridze's care, makes his way out to the barn where the bandit mother fucker is being held, his hands still ziptied behind his back, a cloth sack pulled over his head. Carswell sits opposite him, on the floor, his back against the wall, his Colt held in both hands, pointed down, towards the floor, the safety on. He doesn't speak to the prisoner, doesn't do anything, just watches him, warily. If he does try to pull any stunts Carswell won't hesitate to intervene, non lethally if possible but with deadly force if he has to.
Austin 'A-Square' Anker
 player, 79 posts
 US Army SSgt.
 keys138
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 14:34
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Instead of leaning on a wall and letting the others do the talking, Austin finds himself standing next to his mother in the mayor's office opposite a woman he last saw shortly after high school.  His clearest memory of Erin Saxman (now Pope), is watching her getting tossed in the air at a football game and telling the assembled students to cheer for the De-Fense!  Austin himself was probably drunk at the game, sipping Budweiser out of a Big Gulp, with his arm around Lana-.  You've got to stop thinking about her.  Instead, he focused his mind on the memory of this morning, walking in on his niece and nephew who looked at him in awe.  Back from the dead.  Some of the cops were giving him the same look.  Those old enough to remember his bad old days.

"Hell, Erin," Austin says. "Folks are expected to be nervous.  I can't speak for everyone, but I know most of us are here to help things get better.  I'm home now.  I ain't going anywhere else.  Figured people would be less weirded out by some of us not in uniform, you know?"

Sanchez registers on Austin's radar, but not in any significant way.  He's got the eyes of a man haunted by responsibility, dragging the community through a series of the least bad options.  He doesn't envy the guy the position.  If Austin's mom says he's all right, then he's all right as far as Austin in concerned.

"Maybe we can start un-fucking the situation around here," Austin says, catching a disapproving stare from his mother, and a narrowing of the mayor's eyes.  "No offense to anyone," he hastily adds.  "You've been between a rock and a hard place here.  Hopefully we can help."  His appearance probably isn't helping the mayor take him seriously, Rocky Horror t-shirt and everything.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:02, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 114 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 19:58
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Erin Pope:
By now Mayor Sanchez has finished talking. Erin's eyes move back to Mesa. "So, there you have it Captain Mesa. We've told you all that we know about the Mexicans. So what are your plans now?" Her tone is neutral. "You realize that people are talking? They know you're here but don't know who you are. All they've seen are another group of armed men." There's no challenge in her voice, just a simple statement of fact as she looks at those gathered in Sanchez's office. "Some of you in uniform, some not. You can understand that some folks are bit jittery right now."


"Yes, I can," Mesa replies, "And I'm sorry that we didn't announce ourselves sooner. When we arrived, you already had 'guests'- we didn't want to cause an incident. Anyhow, our job..." he looks sidelong at Anker, "... is to gather intel and pass it on to Albuquerque, and you've assisted us considerably in that regard. I'd like to head down to Las Cruces, take a closer look, but I anticipate the Nationalists have outposts on the highway?"

"Yes, a couple," the mayor replies.

Mesa shakes his head slowly. "We saw an Alliance outpost on the road to Deming, kept our distance. We didn't move in to take a closer look because we didn't want to bring any more heat down on Hatch. We're not here to cause problems. It looks like you've got enough of your own."

Mesa felt conflicted. He took his duty very seriously, but he felt hamstrung by conscience and the inclusion of locals in his unit. He could see the writing on the wall. Captain Nash, Anker, and now probably Tom Ryan wouldn't agree to anything that would put the town at greater risk. Was mutiny already brewing?

"What about friendly forces? Are there any resistance groups, partisans, that sort of thing, around here?"

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:50, Fri 05 May 2017.

Erin Pope
 player, 4 posts
 Former Army Captain
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 20:56
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Erin looks over at Austin, nods. "Yeah, I hear you, Austin. But we've had guys with guns come through here before. Not just Mexicans. And it hasn't always ended well, ya know?" The unspoken implication is that bandits can come from either side of the Rio Grande. Her lips then curl into a smile. "Welcome home. I'm glad you made it back safely. It's good to see you again." The smile is brief, but it's also sincere. It must have been  well over ten years since she had last seen him, when she had been home on Summer Break from UT Austin, before she had joined the Army.

The blonde haired woman then turns towards Mesa as he resumes his exchange with Mayor Sanchez. A silence lingers for a moment after Mesa has asked his question about resistance groups, Erin, Sanchez, and Avila all exchanging brief glances."There aren't any organized groups." Erin says after a moment.

Sanchez cuts in. "The Mexicans hanged the last mayor from a streetlight for 'helping' guerrillas. Only they called them banditos."

Erin nods, runs a hand through her hair. "Like Austin said, we're between a rock and a hard place. Mayor Sanchez has done a good job looking after the people, the town -" she meets the Mayor's eyes for a moment, offers him a supportive nod. "- we've had to make some hard choices, yeah?" Her shoulders form a shrug as she turns her attention back to Mesa. "There are people here who might be willing to fight back. But we can't do it on our own. Did you see them the other day when they came for the taxes?" The last word was virtually spat out. "They've got an armored car, an old Greyhound. We can't take that on with rifles. And we've all got family here. That's a lot to ask people to risk."

"Erin..."It's Avila that sounds as though he's about to say something.

Pope shakes her head, cuts off the Chief of Police. She's breathing faster. "It's OK, Michael." She looks over at Anker. She wonders if Mesa is aware that if Anker hadn't been here she probably wouldn't have said anything. It's nothing personal, but so far they'd had no help from Albuquerque. "So if we're going to un-fuck this situation -" despite the circumstances she can't help but grin. It's hardly appropriate language for a former Hatch Chile Queen. "- we need help. We need people like you."

She looks around at those assembled in the office. "All of you."

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:13, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 115 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Fri 5 May 2017
at 17:55
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Erin Pope:
Pope shakes her head, cuts off the Chief of Police. She's breathing faster. "It's OK, Michael." She looks over at Anker. She wonders if Mesa is aware that if Anker hadn't been here she probably wouldn't have said anything. It's nothing personal, but so far they'd had no help from Albuquerque. "So if we're going to un-fuck this situation -" despite the circumstances she can't help but grin. It's hardly appropriate language for a former Hatch Chile Queen. "- we need help. We need people like you."

She looks around at those assembled in the office. "All of you."


Mesa could see the writing on the wall. If given the choice between Hatch and Albuquerque, he was almost certain that Anker, the Nash's, and probably Ryan would choose the former. Carswell is a maybe; the others, he thinks will elect to stick with the unit and its established commander. At least, that's what he hopes...

"Well, what do you have in mind?" he asks, failing to mask the hesitancy evident in his voice.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:28, Fri 05 May 2017.

Erin Pope
 player, 5 posts
 Former Army Captain
 Dave Ross
Fri 5 May 2017
at 19:10
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
Erin's arms are folded in front of her again, her attention focused on Mesa now. "We have just under a month before the Alliance are due here again. As I said, there are people here prepared to fight. But we're not soldiers." Well, not any more in her case. There were a few other veterans in town, like Gerry Danvers, who had done two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Herd, the 173rd Airborne Brigade. But they were the exception.

"With your skills, your expertise, your firepower, maybe it can be different this time. They're not expecting to find trained soldiers here. We can be ready for them when they come. Fight them. Kick their asses." She's looking right at the Cavalry Captain now. Or maybe you'll bug out back to Albuquerque, leave us to fend for ourselves. What's  it going to be Captain Mesa? After all, it's not like the NMSDF has done anything to help Hatch up until now.
John Mesa
 player, 116 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sat 6 May 2017
at 20:10
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming

"Could we have a minute?" Mesa asks. He wants to talk to his people in private.

"Of course. There's a an empty office down the hall on the left." Mayor Sanchez replies.

Mesa leads the way. When the door is shut, he addresses the Sabers.

"This, is not our mission. Wait! Hear me out. I am duty-bound. But I understand that there are bonds stronger than duty. So, here's what I'm proposing: Anyone who wants to stay here, wants to help these people... I'll tell HQ that I left a stay-behind team to build up the local militia, harass the Mexicans south of here. You understand?"

Mesa's giving the others an out, a means of following their hearts' desires without being labelled 'deserters' by the NMSDF.

"I'll take everyone else, and we'll leave one of the trucks- Home Depot, I'm thinking. The tools will be more useful here than on the road back to Albuquerque. Any objections?"

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:12, Sat 06 May 2017.

Tom Ryan
 player, 55 posts
 Former Army LRRP
 mark101
Tue 9 May 2017
at 09:23
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
After nearly a year of searching and hoping, having to leave Jenny-Lou for even a few hours was almost enough to send Tom into a screaming rage. It didn't though as he exerted the iron will that had been instilled into him early by his Pa. Big men couldn't afford to lose their temper like the little terriers did. When Tom got angry, people got hurt, so Tom didn't get angry.

The three hours he had to wait to see his daughter again dragged like a lifetime even though he spent it with horses, something that had always calmed him before.

Finally she arrived at the barn with her tired horse and after a quick hug the two of them did what was needed, they saw to her mount. Tom knew that Jenny-Lou was well able to look after her own horse, she was probably better at it than he was, especially as she'd got all the book learning and practical experience to go with years of ranching.

The inside of the barn was dim and the motes of light that penetrated the cracks in the wood were shot through with lazy drifts of straw dust and the odd buzzing fly as it decided which horse to alight on. The pungent stink of horse-droppings was comforting, it smelled of home.

Jenny-Lou rubbed down the horse's back as Tom inspected one of the sturdy beast's fetlocks, "How's everyone at home?"

He'd known he'd need to give her news before he could find out her story. ‘Others first’ could have been the Ryan motto.

"Mum's fine," he began, "a few more wrinkles and a lot more grey in her hair but she's surrounded by the boys and the families they're starting as well as Uncle Jamie's clan and Auntie Em's brood."

"They made it out of Denver and Dallas then?"

"Yup," Jamie, his brother had been a small-time lawyer doing conveyancing in Denver when the bombs had struck. They'd made it to the ranch fairly quickly, one of Jamie's clients had been a government official who'd tipped him off and they'd been on the road ahead of the refugee flood. Em, Eleanor's sister, had lost her husband in the rioting in Dallas but had still managed to drag her brats cross-country in the middle of the war. If she'd been in green the Russians would have never dared start anything, "with a dozen nieces and nephews around your mother's in her element."

"What about the boys?" Jenny-Lou's voice was heavy with concern, "did they get drafted?"

Tom frowned, he looked away, "No, after we heard how Tom Junior died, mother was frantic that the others didn't get called up. I went to Mayor Richards and offered to train up the militia as long as my boys didn't get put into the draft. They were put down as being essential personnel. I'm not proud of it but it would have broken your mother..."

He felt Jenny-Lou's hand squeeze his, "It's OK, Dad, before the war I might have called you out on that. Now? You did what you had to. So they're OK?"

"Yup, the twins are both married, Carson married the Hilton girl down the road and that wildcat Georgia from town got her hooks into Bill."

"Georgia?" she gasps, "The one with all the black make-up that used to do the graffiti? Didn't she get arrested for stealing cars?"

"She did," Tom nodded, "then she set her sights on Bill. She's living with us now and. boy, her and your mother get into some wild ones I can tell you."

"I can't imagine Bill with her: he's such a calm boy."

"Well, he seems happy."

"That's good," she went back to the horse, brushing down the long flanks, "Bradley and James are well?"

"Growing like weeds. I just wonder what world they're growing into."

Jenny-Lou stopped her brushing and stared into the dim shadows, "It'll be the best we can make it although that might not be very good."

Tom didn't have an answer for that so he changed the topic, "So, how'd you end up here?"

He watched her face as she remembered. It was the same face he knew better than his own but there was a hardness there, a tightness around the eyes and distance to the stare, a look he'd known well in Vietnam and saw more and more these days: the look of eyes that have seen too much.

"I got lucky, Pa," she pushed her hair back, "before the invasion things were mad. The border militias were running around like they owned the place and they were looking for Mexican insurgents and wetbacks everywhere. I knew it was bad when Rosita disappeared. You remember me writing about her?"

Tom nodded, "The girl from El Paso? Good rider?"

"That's right," Jenny-Lou confirmed, "she was a sweet girl, no harm to anyone, then one night she never came back home. Two days later a bunch of burned bodies were found in a ditch. The cops didn't do anything; they had other things to worry about."

Her jaw set firm, back in the day it would have shown that there was no budging her from her opinion, "That's when I went over to the Kappa Delta Chi girls. We'd always been friendly but some of us Anglos started sleeping over there, we hoped that if the militias came around it'd make a difference."

Tom tried to remember what the letters stood for, he got it, a Latino sorority from the university, "Anyway, it didn't turn out like we'd thought. Instead of militia, the Mexican Army rolled into town. The Kappa girls turned the tables and it was them protecting us. One of the girls found out her cousin was a Captain in the army and he looked out for us until we were allowed to come to Hatch to stay with some of the families here."

"I started out helping around the farm and looking after the livestock. Once people found out I could do some veterinary work people started asking for help. It ended up that I started to ride a circuit to see as many communities as I could."

"It's not the life I'd expected but it's a life."
Jorge Camacho-Matta
 player, 126 posts
 Former N.M.S.P. #927
 Corkman
Tue 9 May 2017
at 19:06
Re: Ch. 3: A Sort of Homecoming
In reply to John Mesa (msg # 109):

"Mi familia is safe right now.  It took a lot of people to go out of their way to make that happen.  It's time for me to pay it forward.  Permission to stay behind sir!"