IC Thread. CoC. "I shall show you fear in a handful of dust."

Two months ago

04.42 am, March 9, 1916, Cavalry Camp Columbus, New Mexico.


Four M1909 machine gun teams tap out their deadly stacatto, defended by a scattered group of troopers under the command of two young officers: 2LT John Lucas and 2LT Horace Stringfellow jr.

”Pick your targets...” ”Good shot sergeant”

”Fitzwilliam! Get back to the armoury for more ammunition...”

Ahead of them, backlit by the burning buildings of Columbus, can be seen their targets, scores of Mexican rebels, each intent on causing as much death and destruction as they can.

Sparks fly upwards into the night sky as nearby roofs collapse, the air filled with the crack of bullets and screams of terrified civilians.


Crack... A trooper is hit as he runs for cover behind a pile of barrels, his rifle clattering to the ground as he crumples by the feet of one of his buddies.


A machinegun falls silent, it's loader cursing as he tries to clear the jam caused by an upside down strip of bullets. It's dark and the troopers' lack of training in these weapons is beginning to show.

Simultaneously troopers duck as bullets hit the ground and rip holes in the guard tent immediately behind.

”Sharpshooters up in the hills. Machinegun number two get some rounds up there.”


Those looking towards the burning town can see a group of raiders gathering as they prepare to charge.

”Damnation! Screw these damn pieces of crap!”

Another machinegun jams...

OOC: You are all part of the thirty or so Troopers making a hasty defence in front of the camp's guard tent.

Four machinegun crews, two men teams , are laying down a withering fire on the attackers before them, though far too frequently the guns jam due to poor training and the difficulty of reloading and changing barrels in the darkness. Some thirty riflemen protect them.

During the early morning battle the mgs fired some 20,000 rounds and nearly 70 Mexicans were killed, with 8 Troopers and about 15 civilians dead. The Mexicans are intent on stealing horses, weapons and equipment.

This is a chance to get in character, shoot some folk, hide terrified behind cover, trade bayonets or do what ever you did that morning. Perhaps you dropped bad guys with headshots at 100yds and stopped a charge single handed, this possibly a story told some thirty years later in a bar filled with your drinking buddies, the tale having got more extravagant with each telling.

No need to roll dice, this is free form, trade some shots, do your thang, laugh with your best buddy or quiver in terror...

Only rule is none of you get injured, hurt another pc, or do something not humanly or militarily possible…

Once we get to present day we'll revert to rolling dice.
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Years later, when Walter tells stories about this engagement, how he describes what happens will depend on his audience. When he's trying to winkle information for a story out of some cop or corporate executive or small business owner, he'll show the (fairly small and fading) scar on his left arm and tell them all about how he was in the midst of a saber charge against some Villistas moving to burn the local business district when he was unhorsed by a bullet passing through his arm.

When he's drinking illegal liquor in the 20s veteran's dives, however, he doesn't try to tart things up. Oh, Walter did mount up to counter-charge a Villista advance - under orders, not in any act of individual heroism. And he didn't take that Mexican bullet - his horse did, and then fell. Walter managed to scramble out of the stirrups so that he didn't get pinned, but in the course of doing so he fell against the corner of a nearby water trough and opened a cut down the length of his arm.

By the time he was stitched and bandaged, the fight was pretty much over. He took a few shots at fleeing Villistas toward the end - God only knows if he hit anything.


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Sergeant Summers, US Cavalry

"GETCHURGODDAMNHEADDOWNYOUDUMBSUMBITCH!" Sergeant Summers was a fine one to talk about keeping down and keeping cover, walking as he was from position to position, keeping order in the ranks as the Lieutenants made themselves heroes. There came a point in time where a man just knew when his time was going to be up, and Zeb knew, deep in his soul, that this wasn't it. He could feel it, that was somewhere in the distant, smoky haze that was the future, but...it was not today, not tonight. That old friend of his, the one with the dark robes and skeletal hands, he was here...but The Reaper just watching good ol' Zeb tonight and biding time.

Still, Walk was not quite the right word, and neither was Run as he moved here and there between positions, firing a round here, putting down another peon whose sole sin was just having a rifle shoved into his hands. No, he was moving with, as the military would put it, A Sense Of Purpose, that quick but relaxed stride that carried him rapidly from point to point, but not so fast that it might startle or worse, promote panic in the ranks. He settled down behind the machinegunners and, not looking at the gun in the dark, instructed the loader and gunner in the correct manner of unloading, clearing, reloading the weapon: "Now fire. Short bursts, getsum WATER FOR THE GODDAMNGUN! Jesus, do I have to do everything myself, keep it firing, Jensen, good man," and he was off again.

He'd have to tighten the perimeter down and dispatched another man - too many down, the boy, new to the desert, wouldn't do a hell of a lot of good in that firing pit in the ground by himself - to help guard the horses and ammo. Nobody important, nobody with skills to write, no one like that would remember what happened here, not tonight, not ever, but those who were here would remember.


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"Another clip!" James calls looking at the gathering enemy. He holds his hand out feeling rather than trying to see the clip in the darkness. "It's upside down" he says to the loader. You've got to feel use your feelings when you can't see the mechanics and know the mechanism his uncle always said Don't rely on your eyes and don't trust another's work. This last he said after the accident. James knew well the mechanism of the gun and knew then the ways it could jam.

He feels the tap on his shoulder and cocking the mechanism brings the barrel round to bear on the group preparing their charge.


The gun spits it's deadly load towards the massing ranks cutting through those on the front row. He swings the gun in a slow arch seeing them fall. Whether they are dead, wounded or cowering he cannot tell and does not care, they'll not charge and that is all he cares about at this time.

More shots are fired and another trooper slumps forward, his hands fluttering over his gaping chest wound. From the direction of the nearest burning building comes the sound of a woman screaming, a dog barking and terrified horses, two of which bolt in to view, only to be cut down by the deadly machine gun fire...


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Corporal Thomas Worthington III

Thomas, for one, pays attention to his sergeant's shouted commands and keeps his head down, taking the occasional potshot at the enemy when the machine guns fall silent.
May 16th 1916

12.45pm, sunny with partial cloud.

City of Chihuahua, capital city of the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The American soldiers of F troop are on garrison duty, spread about their regiment's camp on the outskirts of the city going about their assigned work details, whilst waiting for their next set of orders.

Corporal Thomas Worthington has the hood of one of the company's trucks open and is doing his best to explain to privates Amos Kimbal and Johnny Higgins what makes this particular engine tick. Higgins is the troop's latest recruit; sixteen years of age the burly farm boy spends most of his time tripping over his feet and watching the veterans of the Columbus battle with youthful awe. Not the brightest spark, but his heart is certainly in the right place.

Not too far away private James Scott is mucking out the horse corral, thanks to a previous misdemeanour that gained the wrath of their sergeant Zebediah Summers. Said sergeant is currently on guard duty at the camp's main gate with private Walter Thibodeau.

F troop's commanding officer 2nd Lieutenant Beauregard Fieldings was last seen entering the regiment's Co's office half an hour previously. The somewhat shy twenty five year old is a recent graduate from officer school and has been relying heavily on his ncos for help during his first few weeks on the job….

Approaching the gate comes a rider at full gallop. A cloud of dust and the midday glare of the sun preventing those standing on guard from seeing who it is...

OOC: feel free to correct me on any glaring mistakes with names of objects, expressions and turns of phrase. I wanted to call the hood of the truck a bonnet for example...
This is now the game, so dice rolls will be made.


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Walter holds a hand up at the approaching rider: "Halt! State your business!"

OOC: Spot Hidden 45% to see if I notice anything strange about the rider: 55 is a failure.
The rider comes to a gradual halt, the dust momentarily blinding both sergeant Summers and private Thibodeau. Once it clears the soldiers can see that the horse has been ridden hard, it's frothing at the mouth and it's flanks are wet from sweat.

The rider dismounts, turning out to be a Mexican peyon, who like his horse looks exhausted and is covered from head to toe in dust.

"Capitan... I must see your commanding officer…..It's terrible….My town has been over run…" His English is good enough to be understood, despite the long pauses for breath and obvious discomfort.

The commotion at the gate is unusual enough that all those in the camp see the arrival of the rider. The walls of the camp are in the most part none existent, the gate being a post across the road that can be raised by leaning on one end.
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