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Crooked Beaks of Heaven Story
The desert is a harsh mistress, luckily you're one step above her. Peter Ramsay, the leader of the Crooked Beaks of Heaven has sent you on a mission to negotiate some type of treaty with the Sin City Saints, who while mobile have a tendency to rattle your cages especially the people who paid their tribute to your gang of their first born child. This can't be tolerated, be peaceful if you can if not. No loss, they shouldn't have riled them up to begin with. You've been given all you need to survive such as food, water and a vehicle.
Sin City Saints Story
Your gang has a history with the Crooked Beaks of Heaven, they enslave children into their ranks to indoctrinate into their military. You try to break the cycle and have a rebellion against them. As a member of Sean Morrison and his family's gang, you value freedom over everything else. Having an authority, especially one such as the Crooked Beaks of Heaven, is not an option in your mind.Your mission is to either evade capture, convince the diplomat or defend the Morrison family if it comes to that.
Jefferson Cartwright of the Crooked Beaks
Camped at the foot of the Henry Mountains in what used to be Utah
“Up, Chickie!” Jefferson heard his squad leader, Beef, say. Jefferson was awake. To be honest, he had hardly slept at all. This had been his first night outside of Monticello, and it was as frightening as it was exciting. He heard the scuff of a boot and tasted a fresh spray of dirt. Jefferson came to attention quick, spitting out the red dirt of the Colorado Pleateau that Beef had just kicked in his face. Beef was a barrel of a man who looked like he had trunks for arms and legs. White, pink lines marked that man’s face where his beard no longer grew, old wounds from God knows what, and one side of his top lip constantly stood erect.
“Pack your crap, Cartwright, and make the coffee,” Beef said. After he had placed his sleeping bag in the Chevy, Jefferson walked to the small fire where the other two members of his party were chewing on salted emu. They both donned mohawks and were gritty and lanky. Cain and Lister were their names, but he didn’t know much about them. Jefferson joined up with the Crooked Beaks earlier that week, and they were the next squad to enter Monticello. They had taken heavy casualties from a firefight at a Sin City Saints’ outpost near Page, Arizona. Cain, Lister, and Beef were the only survivors or ones not too wounded to carry on with their mission.
The Beaks wanted the Page outpost in order to set up a power structure near the Little Colorado and have more control over what went in and out of the Grand Canyon. The Hopi tribe was thriving in the Canyon, the first to take advantage of the existing cliff dwellings and the ability to create them anew. The dwellings had an endless supply of water and they made an assault near impossible. Besides, you wanted the Hopi to be your friend for trade reasons. Right now, the Sin City Saints controlled that outpost, and as they were nomadic, it always had a fresh supply of troops. The Beaks would arrive exhausted to only be beaten back again by the fierce Saints. But what else could they have done? The Saints had been price-gouging them almost to starvation. Their mission was to try to make peace with the Saints and try to negotiate less harsh sanctions.
The bitter coffee was Jefferson’s only company at breakfast. The other three basically ignored him unless they wanted him to refuel the truck or refill their water canisters, but he was willing to take his lumps. They had lost a lot of men at the assault on Page, and he expected that a little twerp like himself hardly replaced their fallen comrades. They were talking about the route now.
“Them’s the Henry Mountains. Bout time to turn South,” Beef was saying.
“What do you think, Boss? We gonna try our luck in Page or sneak around to Flagstaff?” This had come from Cain, who had seemed to be the more loquacious of the two underlings.
Beef took another sip of coffee before answering. “Hadn’t decided yet. Guess it depends on security and who’s the boss at Page when we get there.”
“Bastards move around too much.”
“You know, in the revolution for independence that formed the Old United States,” this coming from Lister, “the colonists would destroy the officers first. It made the defenses of their enemies crumble like ants that lose their ...”
“Thanks, Poindexter,” interrupted Beef. “A lot of good that’s gonna do us when we ain’t got a clue which Saints to poach. What good’s keeping your dern nose in books all the time if you just gonna remind of us reasons why we can’t win?” Lister simply shrugged, and Jefferson snickered at the exchange. Beef rapped Jefferson in the side of the head with his tin cup and told him to pack up the cooking gear.
Jefferson rubbed the side of head and did as he was told. And to think, he had signed up for this...
Crooked Beaks of Heaven Story
The sole woman of the squad, a blonde named Eunice offers Jefferson her ration of meat and whole-wheat bread. She has an engaging smile and is knowledgeable in machinery. She's mainly here due to that as well as a rumored blood-tie she has with someone. It varies from person to person, some say she's the mistress of Ramsay, others say she's the daughter of a former ruler long dead. She's human enough, at least compared to Beef, Cain and Lister, who are burping up a storm.
"I am not hungry so you can have mine." She says. "So, what's a little guy doing out here serving the Beaks? I heard rumors of Ramsay bringing children to the front lines but I never saw one in my own five years of service." Eunice then feels sheepish as most child soldiers she heard about don't like talking about their past. "So sorry." She almost whispers. "Just take the meal and I'll leave you alone."
Crooked Beaks of Heaven Story
Jefferson smiled back at Eunice before returning the offered food. “Please. Don’t apologize. Thank you. Beef might be rough, but I don’t think he’s bad enough to starve me. I just don’t eat that much. Plus, I scarfed down a piece of jerky earlier.” He began wiping out the coffee cups. Wasting water on cleaning dishes was out of the question. After packing up the pots in the truck, he snuffed out the fire.
This was a hard life, he knew. And he also knew he would need to build his own calluses, but he was glad it looked like there might be a friend out here. “To answer your earlier question, I’m the second-born, but I’m older than I look. I’m fifteen. I just had to get out of Monticello, but I would prefer to keep those reasons to myself. My older brother’s time to pay his tribute to the Beaks came a couple of months ago. I’m hoping I can meet up with him sometime soon.”
He jumped into the back of the truck on one of the wheel wells, ready to head South. “What about you Eunice? Were you there? You know, at the assault on Page?”
Eunice nods. "The assault on Page was my first look at war actually." She sips her coffee gingerly. "The Saints are a difficult opponent, they have weres in the ranks and that usually turns tides." Eunice then gazes over the horizon. "As for my history. I joined the Beaks on my own free will. I wanted order in my life and the Beaks seemed like the most orderly gang in this wasteland."
Beef, Lister and Cain stop the truck and order everybody out. "I think I heard something. Ready the weapons, I have a feeling we found them, don't shoot however. Remember the order." Beef says.
The land was silent, not a single sound except for the sharp blowing of the wind and Mandus' own breathing from within his helmet. He held his rifle in his hands, gripping it tightly. The Crooked Beaks have been causing more issues as of late and Mandus was getting suspicious.
He stood within a 2 story building that had about 3/4 of it blown away by bombs from years past. The entire landscape was like a blast to the past, everything seemed too old, nothing was right the ground, the air, the sky - it was all wrong.
Mandus shook these thoughts out of his head, they would do nothing but impede his watch. The Saints managed to hold back the Crooked Beaks for some time but he wasn't sure how long they would last. Currently he was probably the most well-equipped of the bunch, being quite resourceful when working alone.
He was alerted to the sound of very small steps behind him, but was relieved to find out it was only Grip. He pat the dog's head a few times before turning to work. Grip was the first creature to treat him with friendliness since his exile and the two became close companions, mirroring a bond that was almost like brothers.
Growing tired of his current location, Mandus jumped from the open balcony he was on, somersaulting quickly to avoid breaking anything. Grip quickly went down the stairs, meeting up with his master a few seconds after.
He tapped a button on the side of his helmet, changing the view from within to that of a thermal camera; the helmet was well equipped with a rebreather, night, thermal, and x-ray vision, access to recorded databases as well as an identification system. The armor itself was bullet-resistant, allowing base protection from most surprise attacks.
Mandus hoisted the rifle on his shoulder, but he was ready for anyone foolish or brave enough to attack.
Sin City Saints Story
You know a scouting team was just dispatched to check if the Crooked Beaks were onto where you are. You also knew that it was also the armed escort of Sean Morrison's wife, Piper who wants to sit down with the Beaks for a powwow, either way you know she might be over her head as a mere scouting party shouldn't be sent with the second highest ranking member of the gang. Maybe Sean is no longer pleased with her and wants her dead by somebody else's hand. Maybe she is too old for him and wants another, younger wife and needs her dead. Either way, you just know you have to be the vanguard of this camp.
Something tells you someone will be heading your way sooner rather than later, and it is probably in a body bag.
Crooked Beaks of Heaven Story
Beef and Lister have their guns trained on a large caravan. Too big to be Sin City Saint owned but it's HUGE, the only reason it's not on a train is because the traintracks were in this spot was in disrepair. The caravan seems to be a circus of some sort, the group your in lowers their weapons and waits for the unveiling of the circus tent, which reveals a symbol of a heart with a thunderbolt crossed inside it.
"Brothers Calamity?" Eunice whispers. "What are they doing here? This isn't their turf."
"Nothing as soon as I'm done with them." Cain says as he readies his weapon again.
"Hold your fire fool." Beef says to Cain. "They don't seem to be threatening us, plus remember the mission." Beef places his gun next to him. "I suggest we talk to them and see if we can strike up a temporary alliance with them. Enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that."
"Good idea but... The Proctors are complete sociopaths." Lister said. "Even with an alliance I doubt that will last long. I say we try to go around them and leave them alone."
"Well chickies what do you say we should do?" Beef said asking Eunice and Jefferson.
Crooked Beaks heading South of the Henry Mountains towards what used to be Page, Arizona.
Jefferson was shocked by the consideration of his opinion further convincing him that Beef was more bark than he was bite. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. But he could barely speak his teeth were chattering so bad. These were the Brothers Calamity whom he'd hear stories from excellent parties they had thrown to cannibalism. Jefferson didn't think they were predictable enough to take the chance of an alliance. He very much disagreed with Beef's notion that the enemy of the enemy is my friend. To him, it was more like fighting two different wars on two fronts.
"I don't think we should go up to them, Sir," Jefferson finally spat out. He glanced over at Eunice for a quick moment. "Plus, I'd bet anything their gonna want this truck from us--one way or the other."
"I'm gonna need more than that, chickie," Beef said. "There's too many of them to fight"
"Exactly," Jefferson continuted. "If it wasn't so early in the day still, I would say we just wait til dark and bypass them with the lights off. But I don't think it's a good idea to sit around, wasting our supplies."
He had entered a different zone; one where his mind had begun working indiscriminate of the intimidation of his superiors and the fear of the Brothers Calamity. He had always been small, but everyone new if there was a problem around Monticello, he always had a different approach even if it wasn't the best one. However, what he was thinking of now didn't seem too novel or smart.
"Sir, I say we get in the truck and gun it by them. They're distracted while they're setting up, and I bet they haven't quite hammered out who's gonna be on guard duty. We don't have enough ammo to take on the whole lot, but I bet we can pick off the few vehicles that can keep up with us. Maybe we could even outrun them completely. It's a risk, but I think it's our best chance."
Beef harrumphed. "I like it, Cartwright. What do you to think?" he asked referring to Cain and Lister.
Lister and Cain nodded with the idea of doing a run and gun. "I like this idea. We should only do one pass however." Lister pointed out. "Anything more than that will turn it into a full on firefight. "Put the pedal to the metal Cain. Eunice ready the mounted cannon."
"OPEN FIRE BOYS!" Beef yells. The truck goes full speed and starts to mow down some members of the Brothers Calamity. Too far away to tell if anybody of note is dead.
Sin City Saints Story
You hear a VERY loud engine and gunfire, this perks up your eyes and ears. You see a big top tent being fired upon by a truck that you know isn't the scouting party. You can tell it is the Brothers Calamity tent due to the symbol on the big top. You wonder if this could be the "diplomats" the Beaks sent and just what the Brothers Calamity are doing this far out of their normal turf.