Prologue: Down Mexico Way.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Raellus
 GM, 8 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 21:37
Prologue: Down Mexico Way

I'm goin' way down south
Way down to Mexico way
Alright
I'm goin' way down South
Way down where I can be free
Ain't no one gonna find me


Jimi Hendrix, "Hey Joe"


-

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:15, Sat 14 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 9 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 21:40
Prologue: Down Mexico Way

The narrow, long, one-room building was dimly lit and stank of stale cigarette smoke. Dark curtains were drawn over the room's two small, lot-facing windows. It was the kind of simple, pre-fab building one might see serving as an office on a construction site, or for a classroom at an overcrowded, underfunded school. This one occupied a corner of the back lot of the Albuquerque sheriff's department administration complex. The whole place looked much the same as it had five years earlier, except for the new watchtowers at each corner of the perimeter fence (which had been topped with additional coils of barbed wire), and the motley fleet of vehicles- civilian, law enforcement, and military- scattered about on the asphalt. A portable generator ran noisily somewhere on the other side of the lot, but this particular building apparently wasn't connected to the grid.  The audience sat in rows on folding metal chairs facing a large wall-mounted whiteboard. A couple of maps of New Mexico- one road map and one topographical- were attached to the white board with magnetic clips. It took a bit for the audience's eyes to adjust to the low light. The place was probably a sweat box in the summer, but it was barely March, and the temperature was the pretty much the only thing comfortable about the setting.

The speaker was just north of middle age, his pale face deeply lined. A fringe of close-cropped grey hair bordered his bald pate. Despite the golden oak leaves pinned to the lapels of his surprisingly fresh-looking woodland cammies, he looked and spoke more like an insurance adjustor than an army officer. The name tape on his chest read 'Simmons'. A state guardsman with an M16 stood just outside the door.

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. You're probably wondering what this is all about. You've been invited here to volunteer for an important mission.  I'm sure you've heard the rumors. The governor has big plans for this summer and we need to know what were going to be up against. Most of the SDF doesn't have a whole lot of real combat experience- weekend warriors, wannabe cowboys , the 'Depends Brigade', - we've all heard it, and rest assured we're working on it. But you… you folks have seen the elephant. You know how to handle yourselves; some of you travelled thousands of miles to get here. You've got the skills we need most right now; it's time to put them back to good use."

Major Simmons paused to take a sip from a disposable plastic water bottle. It didn't remove the gravel from his baritone voice.

"The mission is a 'Lurp'- a long-range reconnaissance patrol. We want you to head south down the I-25, at least as far as Las Cruces, and find out what we'll be up against- units, troop strengths, heavy weapons, armor. We want to know what their supply situation is, what their morale is like. You'll also be flying the SDF flag- if you come into contact with any guerilla groups or resistance cells, you'll inform them that they are now under NMSDF command. Prime the pump. Gather intel. We're going to need all the help we can get. If you run into resistance, do what you need to do to complete the mission. Get back here with as much information as you can, as soon as you can.

"You'll be given first pick from the motor pool and quartermaster's stores. Make a list of whatever you'll need and we'll do our best to get it for you. This mission has priority over all other operations at the moment."


The major tapped a yellow legal pad on the corner of the card table he stood beside.

"I'm sure you have some questions." It was an invitation, not a declaration.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:55, Sat 14 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 55 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 15:54
Prologue: Down Mexico Way

Preparations begin day one. After the briefing, the volunteers are bussed (under escort) to Kirtland AFB with a letter of introduction from Major Simmons and a shopping list of gear required for the mission. The base quartermaster, a portly, middle-aged man with an almost Hitler-esque moustache and a perpetually put-upon scowl, reluctantly parts with most of the requested supplies. He bends, but doesn't break, and the party leaves with much less of nearly everything- besides food, fuel, and water- than they'd hoped for. There's talk of returning after hours for a "supplemental shopping trip", but the facility is too well guarded, discouraging any serious attempt at pilferage. Instead, several  team members endeavor to do a little scrounging elsewhere on base. By hook or by crook- bribes, bluffs, or the good ol' fashioned five-finger discount- they manage to acquire some additional hard-to-find specialized gear.

The next few days are spent prepping. The vehicles are inspected, minor modifications are made. The gear is checked, catalogued, double-checked, and loaded aboard the vehicles, weapons are zeroed, tested, and cleaned. Teammates get to know one another, start developing working relationships- time is spent on route-planning, physical conditioning,  reviewing unit coms procedures, and rehearsing immediate action drills. Evenings are spent drinking beer, shooting the shit, and watching '80s comedies on a VHS machine in a base rec-room.

-
Gabriel Zhou
 player, 16 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 17:33
Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Gabe avoids Kirtland.  He grew up here.  Too many ghosts haunt its empty hangars now.  He spends all possible time outside the wire, picking through the detritus of his childhood landmarks.  There are ghosts here, too, but he knows how to quiet them.  The scorched shell of War Games West yields a few talismans as-yet-undamaged by fire, weather, or rodents.  He tucks the most critical ones away in his pack and caches the rest against an unlikely future he can't help but plan for.

When his off-base excursions begin needing a dose of healthy justification, he awkwardly offers his services as a local guide to Captain Nash, she of the logistics mission.  The obvious places have long since been picked clean.  He goes sideways.  No one is watching television anymore, so there's no call for television repair.  But the kit for working on the idiot box is mostly the same as that for working on radios.  Likewise, small engines are small engines: Albuquerque's Harley dealership is a collapsed tangle but no looters cared about lawnmower sales and service.

One night, he lugs a cardboard box of movies (Blockbuster Video no longer can charge late fees) into the common room as his offering to team unity.  Big Trouble in Little China is atop the stack.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 02:27, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Jorge Camacho-Matta
 player, 24 posts
 Former N.M.S.P. Officer
 Corkman
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 17:53
Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Jorge sighed aloud when he heard that their mission was going back to Las Cruces.  He had been wounded there with plenty of others and plenty of theirs didn't make it out either.  He chokes down the moment, stands and asks, "Sir!  Is this our first probe into Las Cruces since we were forced to perform a fighting retreat?"

He tries not to look at the beating they sustained there as a loss.  A fighting withdrawal sounds a lot better than taking an 'L' to the enemy.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:16, Sat 14 Jan 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 25 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 18:42
Prologue: Down Mexico Way
It had been a peculiar sight, the strange new officer arriving, on horseback no less, wearing the BDUs, a cavalry stetson, combat boots with golden spurs and a yellow neckcloth. It wasn't the only unusual thing about him - he looked more or less a native, which was not that usual with the military, especially amongst the officers. Still wearing the assorted tabs, insignia and badges on his uniform - 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Ranger, Airborne, jump wings. His uniform had, still at that point, a pair of oak leaves marking him either a major or lieutanant colonel, though after joining up with the NMSDF, he switched to the two silver bars of a captain.

He did not arrive alone - there were several others also, former servicemen, some of whom had served with him and bore the cavalry accoutrements like him. Soon the scuttlebut begun to circulate - they were recent arrivals, evacuated from Europe on the last ships out. The officer had been a Troop Commander in the 2nd Cav and fought on the German and Polish border (not to mention on the both sides of it). By the time the fighting was done, the whole 2nd Cav had no more than 400 men total and just a couple of tanks left, the troops fighting either as infantry or horseborne cavalry.

Settling in to the officers' quarters, the now-Captain introduced himself to those present as John Mesa. He had gone through West Point, served a short stint in the 75th Ranger Regiment, then gotten a transfer in to the Armored Cavalry due to his sickly grandfather, who happened to be a former cavalry officer as well, and been shipped off to Europe with the 2nd Cav. Had it not been for the papers that never got back Stateside, he'd come back home a major with no questions to the matter, but as his file showed only the rank of captain with the field promotion never properly filed, he took the drop back when volunteering for the NMSDF - he was a New Mexican born and bred, so there was a reason for him being there. He was also a half-breed Mescalero Apache on his mother's side, so it was even better for the SDF to have him along, so they could connect with the local Natives.
Mike Carswell
 player, 29 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 19:05
Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Clearly the Kirtland Quartermaster intended to keep what he had for himself. Carswell presumed the prick was probably selling gear on the black markets to line his own pockets. The immediate temptation was to pay a late night visit to the stores to relieve him of the stuff they needed that he had been unwilling to hand over but the place had too many guards and there was a fair chance that they would shoot first and ask questions later. If they asked questions at all.

So the Navy Corpsman had tried his luck elsewhere, concentrating on the various markets that had sprung up in different parts of the City, one in a pre War shopping mall, another at what had once been a High School baseball field, others in less salubrious parts of the City. Sometimes he was accompanied on his scrounging trips by Ron Nash's wife, Emily. Captain Nash. Other times he went alone, watching out for things that might be useful, bartering and haggling.

Twice whilst on solo trips he took the opportunity to purchase some company, the same woman each time. The second time he had stayed overnight. She had said her name was Luisa, claimed to have been a Senior at UNM at Albuquerque when the bombs had fallen in '97. Maybe she had been, maybe she was bullshitting him. It didn't really matter. Now she just did what she had to do to survive. Like a lot of people. Mike Carswell reckoned he fell into that category as well.

The nights he did spent at Kirtland he got to know his new teammates. Well, new was a relative term. Some of them he knew already, trusted with his life. Others he would have to get to know. Everyone had stories to tell; he listened to the others and when the bottle had spun in his direction he'd given the abridged version - five years blueside, two afloat, three ashore, which had bored the shit out of him and prompted him to go greenside, led to him serving in Iran with the 1st Marine Division. Evacuated back to the States just before everything went to shit, he'd spent much of the last two years fighting invading Mexican and marauder groups whose origins lay on both sides of the border. Some parts of the story, like the contents of the case that was in his aid bag, he left out. At least until he got to know them better.
Raellus
 GM, 61 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 19:20
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Jorge Camacho-Matta:
Jorge sighed aloud when he heard that their mission was going back to Las Cruces.  He had been wounded there with plenty of others and plenty of theirs didn't make it out either.  He chokes down the moment, stands and asks, "Sir!  Is this our first probe into Las Cruces since we were forced to perform a fighting retreat?" 


"Yes, it is. We've sent a couple of aircraft down there to reconnoiter the area from above, but there's only so much we can glean from aerial images."

To reinforce this point, he clips a couple of blown-up photos on the white board. There's not much detail- the overflights must have taken place from well over 5,000 feet, without specialist camera lenses.

"We needs boots on the ground, HUMINT. That's your job. Get in, take a look around, maybe grab a prisoner or two, get back here with the intel."

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:26, Sat 14 Jan 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 27 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 19:32
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
"And that is just the job for Cavalry", John said. "Saber Troop is more than capable of handling such a mission." It would have been a surprise, if the cavalry officer had not spoken up. He was cavalry through and through, but he was not just talk - he had the file to back it up and so had his crew. There was pride in his words - in the short time they had been together as a unit, the men and women had made him proud to serve with them.
Emily Nash
 player, 5 posts
 USAF O3
 Spartan-117
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 20:36
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Emily had been busy in the days leading up to departure, trying to beg, steal, or borrow the equipment the would need to for this mission.  It had been hard to focus sole on logistics however.  Being reunited with Ron was a happy distraction.  The though of seeing her hometown again occupied her mind as well, though her thoughts were much more tentative.  What would they find there?  And beyond?  What would Las Cruces hold?

The Air Force Logistics Officer was therefore grateful to have help in the preparations, especially Gabriel and Mike.  She especially liked Zhou's unconventional thinking when it came to potential sources of supply.  Mike's medical knowledge had been indispensable as they sorted through fish antibiotics picked over from a pet store.  More so than their ability to help scrounge, Emily appreciated that these were the men who had travelled and fought with Ron.  She could see why he spoke so highly of them.

"Do we have any script to pay for supplies along the way?" Emily asked during the briefing.  No one really put much stock in the State Government's paper, but if they had to seize supplies, it was always better to leave the former owner's holding something other than the bag.
Raellus
 GM, 63 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 22:54
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way

"You'll be issued a small amount of scrip. It's not likely much of it's circulating in your AO, so we'll give you some receipts to issue for whatever items you might need to requisition south of the black line. We'll be getting a fresh batch from the print shop soon. But if you need something to complete the mission, and the locals refuse to part with it- for scrip or on DF credit- you're authorized to seize it," 'at gunpoint' is left unsaid, but strongly implied in Simmons' slightly imperious tone.

It is a telling indication of the sort of neo-feudalism that characterizes Colonel-Governor Reynolds' rule. Civilians are expected to kowtow to anyone in a NMSDF uniform, no questions asked. What exactly the bulk of the NMSDF is doing to merit such obeisance is, in many civilians' minds, rather unclear at the moment. The harsh reality of the recent NMSDF expansion is that the number of mouths needing to be fed has increased, while the number of dedicated food producers has dropped. Everyone knows that joining the NMSDF is a much easier way to eat than working the fields.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:33, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Austin 'A-Square' Anker
 player, 7 posts
 US Army SSgt.
 keys138
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 01:29
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Well Happy Birthday to me.  Austin Anker didn't bother voicing the thought aloud.  There wasn't much to celebrate with anyway.  What was he going to do?  Point out on the beginning of yet another op that it was his birthday?  Ask one of the civilian/soldier/press gang "cooks" to try and whip up a cake.  Nah, he'd eat a handful of dried mushrooms he scooped out of the forests of Northern Arizona a few weeks ago as a treat when the NMDF served up whatever it was they were terming food this evening.  As a moment of added pleasure at the meal.  The mushrooms were magically delicious.  Not magic.

No, the much better present, the one that the major giving this briefing is unknowingly giving him, is that moving south has him headed to Hatch.  Years of patience are paying off.  He is going home.

Or headed towards home.  Do not look ahead, Austin told himself silently.  The voice in his mind is soft, almost gentle.  It mirrors the tone that he has cultivated for speaking.  A voice that stands in strong contradiction to his large frame.  His eyes sweep the others in the room.  The Arizona contingent, complete with Emily, used to be Beridze now Nash.  The new CO.  The LE breed, standing like cops.  Nothing against cops, mind, just a stance you can see.  He had been surprised to run into the local girl, Emily.  Hadn't known her before, not really.  Known of the family.  His sister Kim knew her.  Out here though, out in the post apocalypse, another Hatch local practically qualifies as family.

Truth be told, his eyes never stop moving.  Austin is taking it all in, withholding judgement. Except for that asshat "go forth and seize what you need" bullshit order.  That tells Austin all he needs to know about Major Simmons and the NSMDF. There's going to be an 'us and them' moment coming.  The scout can feel it in his bones.  He can feel it in the subtle change of his pulse.  Instead of complaining, he strokes his beard a few times then leans back, crossing one leg over the other.

Not my monkey.  Not my circus.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:33, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Tom Ryan
 player, 5 posts
 Former Army LRRP
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 09:29
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
This is mostly colour and got longer than it needed to. If you don't want to read it, the game specific stuff is what Tom asks Nash at the bottom.


Tom sat in the briefing and reviewed the letter he had ready for Eleanor back home. He wrote every week even though he was unsure if they got home but it was a habit that had been ingrained in him since he first left home. Then, Eleanor had been a scrawny kid from church who’d said she’d write him when he was away so that no-one would think he didn’t have a steady girl in Basic. Later, those letters home had been a lifeline, a way to cling on to reality in the hell of the deep green. That other scrawny kid he’d been through LURP training with in the 52nd, the one that had washed out, had been fascinated by the letters, by the way the simple act of writing things down could help you survive all the crazy shit that was going on around you.

“Dear Eleanor,
I hope you and the kids are doing well, I finally got the new guys down here and off my hands. It’s been a long haul but they’re all good enough to have a fighting chance now. All except Jake Miller, he lost a foot to a booby trap and is on his way back home. He should have one of my letters so you already know this. Tell his folks he was a good soldier and did his job well. You might want Mary to call on him, I know they were sweet on each other in Junior High and he’s going to need support to get used to one foot, Mary’s strong enough for that.
I have a new job to do, can’t say much about it but they’ve given me two foreign girls to look after. Don’t worry, they’re neither as good looking as you and they ain’t as stubborn either. Luckily I’ve had some experience with gals like this before. Remember Tom Junior’s first truck? The one I ragged him about for not buying American? They’re like that, good think I made sure he let me help him look after it…”

He looked away for a moment, Tom Junior wasn’t with them anymore and neither was his Tacoma, The Tacoma had gone to the junk yard and Tom had been posted missing presumed dead, it was still hard to think about.

“The new folks I’m working with seem a fine bunch, no-one has a stick up their backs and they all have ‘the look’, the look that shows you guys have seen the elephant and ain’t going to bug out and go crazy in combat. The difference is that some of the guys are gals now. I don’t mind that, Emily and Charlotte (the Simpsons really shouldn’t have let Jessica read so many fancy English books before naming the twins) were holy terrors when the bullets started flying so having women in combat ain’t a problem. There’s even a married couple in the unit, I don’t know how that will work out if one of ‘em gets in danger or the other has to order them into death’s way but we’ll see. The unit’s small enough that people will get tight or they won’t, nobody looks like they’re playing favorites…yet.”

Group dynamics were always an issue, he remembered the two sergeants that led the patrol he’d done before they got rolled out of First Cav and into the Seventy-Fifth, they’d both been tigers in the jungle but in base they were like fire and ice, sometimes he’d wondered if they’d been forces of good and evil battling over the Grunts’ souls.

Hell, that might have made a good film…

“The ladies have been good. I’ve gotten under their britches and had a good root around. The usual problems have been there and it’s a lot harder to deal with them now you can’t shop around for parts…”

He’d had to reuse the oil he’d drained from the sumps when he’d started the basic service. He’d strained it as best he could, but with no motor oil to be had for love nor ready money he’d had to make do. It hadn’t been the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. He just hoped that the improvised fix for one of the wiper blades held: still, having to use the wipers around here might not come into play too much.

“The ball joints were good though, you know they were a bitch to work on with TJ’s truck. I gave the radiator and coolant an extra good look, it’s even hotter down here than back home and it’s only April. That reminds me, tell Kelly and Andrea that I want the back lot planted with alfalfa, it’ll come as fodder for the rabbits and we’ll need bedding for the critters for winter. The back lot’s been idle for five seasons now so the nitrogen fix will help it get ready for winter wheat. Remind them when they harvest to plow the roots back in too, that’ll feed the winter wheat.

Mostly the Tacomas were fine, I had to switch the bushings on the shift linkage with the transmissions on one, it wasn’t too bad but if the driver had a heavy foot and worn through it quicker, it’d have been a pain to do it out in the field. The other one, they call it a cutesy name, I don’t know why, truck are ladies, not cartoon characters, had a pulley bolt coming loose on the crankshaft. It’s a common problem, the designers used a crappy bolt. Fortunately, we’re at a place with decent logistics and I was able to stick a thread locker on and retorque the bolt. It was almost fun.”

He folded up the letter, he’d get it finished later and post it before they left for the Green. Well, it was the Yellow here, but it was still The Green. He headed out to find the Squid, Nash, the Tacomas had had all the love and care he could lavish on them for the moment and it was time to ask f he could cut in on the unit’s other lady.

“Hey, Chief Nash,” he said when he’d found the moustachioed man, he briefly wondered if Tom Selleck had survived the war, “I’ve finished up on the Tacomas, do you want me to give Home Depot the once over?”

Ronald Nash
 player, 14 posts
 USN Seabee CPO
 Spartan-117
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 11:00
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
Ron kicked back and listened to the briefing.  He paused briefly to reflect on the yellow arm band he now wore.  The New Mexico State Defense Force.  Seemed strange for a career Navy man to end up here.  Ron had enlisted two decades ago to learn a trade and see the world.  Now he was 800 miles from the nearest ocean and killing was his vocation.  What a long, strange...

Nash's thoughts were interrupted when Emily spoke.  She was why he was here.  Ron had visited Hatch twice before the war.  Nice enough town with nice enough people; though it had never felt like home.  Hailing from the East Coast, most the American West seemed to a bit surreal to Ronald Lee Nash.  Too many wide-open spaces and not nearly enough trees.

Still, it was good to be back with Emily.  Ron was content to call wherever she was home now, even if the scenic New Mexico skyline forever triggered a pang of nostalgia for the coastal plains of the Carolinas.

"That's be great Tom.  I'd really appreciate it," Ron replied when Ryan asked about Home Depot.  The Air Force deuce and a half was the mothership for this expedition and keeping it running would be critical to the mission.  Ron knew a bit about mechanics, but it was almost all second hand knowledge, gained mostly by watching and helping 'A' School trained mechanics work on graders, bulldozers, backhoes, and other pieces of 'Horizontal' construction equipment over the years.

"Chevelle will probably want to be there too," Ron said with a nod.  Maybe between the two of them, he and Watkins could pick Tom's brain a bit, in case something came up while Ryan was behind the wheel of Tac One, as Ron mentally referred to Tom's vehicle.
Tom Ryan
 player, 6 posts
 Former Army LRRP
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 11:42
Re: Prologue: Down Mexico Way
"I'm on it, Chief," Tom replied before heading off to give Home Depot the once over.

"Good morning. Ma'am," he muttered as he approached the old lady, "you and I are gonna get acquainted a little."

He got to work, giving the vehicle a once over and paying particular attention to the axel seals which might need replacing and the air brakes. The system was a real pain in the ass if people hadn't been draining them after every trip. He checked through to make sure there weren't any leaky seals or fraying pipes. If any of the seals looked rusty he'd clean them back to bare metal and seal p any issues with a spot of solder.