The Story So Far
Here are some of the highlights of what has gone before in “That Godforsaken Country:”
A number of characters have moved in and out of the posse: a swami, an agent of Deseret, a master of steam power, a mistress of electrical power, a hexslinger, a gun collector, and others. Some of their more prominent discoveries have included:
The railroad companies’ competition has become extremely cutthroat. There are several railroads attempting to create a transcontinental connection across the south, including Bayou Vermilion, headquartered in New Orleans, Black River, headquartered in Memphis, and Wasatch (a division of Hellstromme Industries), headquartered in Salt Lake City. The posse has performed some troubleshooting for one of the more minor railroads, the Santa Fe Railroad, which has run afoul of some of the larger players. In addition, some members of the posse were involved in throwing a major wrench into the efforts of Wasatch to expand past eastern Colorado. More recently the posse has stopped efforts by Bayou Vermilion to prevent the Santa Fe RR from expanding to El Paso.
The Wasatch Railroad and its associated industries use automata — artificial workers made from metal and powered by ghost rock — to perform most of the grunt work and keep their costs down. Generally these automata are managed by brains harvested from dead animals (horses or dogs) but in at least one case a human brain has been used. The automaton in question (commonly referred to as “Robbie”) has gone to work for HI’s competitor, Davenport Industries, and will probably not be seen again. His son has started working for Tesla Stalin, the weird scientist, as a driver/hand, and Rob’s wife continues to operate their ranch near Espia. Davenport also has the knowledge to create and maintain automata, and agreed to pay Rob some cash along with keeping him functional; Rob sends the cash back to his wife.
A number of towns throughout the Territory of New Mexico have been beset with what can only be described as “walking dead:” dead people who apparently get up to go take a walk and prey upon the living. The posse has encountered them in Espia, Santa Fe, and other towns. In Espia they encountered a priest, Michael Flynn, who reported that he had been in a monastery down in Mexico which had been attacked by a large group of them; Father Michael was traveling around the territory to warn people of the threat. He was seen in Santa Fe before the incident there, but has not been seen since. Some members of the posse suspected him of knowing more about that than he let on.
Also in Santa Fe is the most expensive saloon in the territory, the “Abode of Enchantment,” which is run by a lady named Belinda Gentry. All manner of diversions are available here, though the prices are quite steep (it’s $10.00 just to walk in the door.) Some underhanded business gets done there; the posse has learned that Belinda — and at least one of the Texas Rangers stationed here — has some contact with US Agent Philip Sheridan. Recently the posse assisted both Sheridan and the Rangers in stopping Pedro Castillo, an agent of the Porfiristas in Mexico’s three-cornered civil war, from smuggling a large load of cannons, gatling guns, and ammunition across the border, so it is likely that Sheridan considers the posse — or some members anyway — as possible allies.
Finally, the posse is acquainted with a professor from Boston, one Ezekiel Ambrose. Ezekiel is a student of Native American antiquities, and hired members of the posse to help him explore a set of petroglyphs near Santa Fe. There the posse fought what appeared to be a demonic bear. With the help of the shaman Taza, Ezekiel translated the petroglyphs, which told a tale of the last great shaman of the Anasazi, who traveled far to the east with his apprentice in order to stop evil demons, known as “manitous,” from continuing to flood into the world. The shaman did not return, although the apprentice did, but the apprentice feared that the shaman’s solution was likely only temporary.