- "Madder than a hat full of assholes, the whole lot of them. Still, wherever they get these guns... well, I got no complaints"
- ―Gary, of Gary's Guns and Grenades
Blue Packpackers are a trade caravan from the Bass Strait, in between Victoria and Tasmania. Originally founded in 2268, the company has made a name for themselves due to their long-distance trade practices and mercenary attitudes. The company is most well known for their long, daredevil trips to Hawaii, USA. In 2287, the company is run by Honest Andy, the original founder.
Blue Packpackers was founded in 2267 along the banks of Port Philips Bay, Victoria. Honest Andy was roaming along the beaches when he stumbled across a Pre-War tourist kiosk, advertising holidays to far-off locations - Cuba, Canada and the apparently next-door Hawaii. Andy, like most Australians, had been taught one thing since 2077 - the war was the American's fault. Yet, the Pre-War pictures showed the island state to be such a paradise, Andy couldn't help but think of it. Such a beautiful, relaxing place couldn't be rife with the same raiders and cutthroats which occupy Post-War Australia.
Travelling back to Williamstown, Andy attempted to raise the capital to fund the trip. While he was initially successful (he found a ship capable of the journey in July, 2 months after stumbling on the Tourist Kiosk), Andy continued to fail in finding someone willing to provide the funds to back the trip. Financiers - if they got past the taboo topic of sailing to America - scoffed at the idea of sailing across for an unknown amount of time across the largest ocean in the world.
In January 2268, Andy got a lucky break. Williamstown had long given up on actually recreating Pre-War life, and instead attempted to force its inhabitants to merely appear as if they had. Part of this involved the removal or riff-raff - usually at the end of a gun. However, Andy had gotten so well-known that this would ultimately be more damaging to Williamstown than anything. Their only option was to pay him off.
With a sudden burst of funding, Andy founded the Blue Packpackers on February 9th, 2268. he quickly hired a crew of cutthroat mercenaries and ex-pirates and began stockpiling resources and repairing the ship. By the time the winter chills had rolled in across the water, the Packer - as the ship was known - was ready for its maiden voyage.
Sailing the Ocean Blue
What Andy and his crew were about to do was unheard of. No one had left Australia since 2077. It was unheard of to sail into the wide, uncharted Pacific. While the crew were happy with the pay, none had left their advances waiting at home.
The journey started out poorly. A gust was blowing into Port Philips Bay, preventing the vessel from making too much headway from the get-go. Clearing the Bay took 3 days in and of itself. From here, however, things got easier. The Bass Strait was cleared without attracting the ire of any Fisher Families. Stocking up again in New Sea, the Packer used the Roarin' 40s winds to drag the vessel out deep into the Pacific, away from land for the first time in the crews' lives.
Anti-climatically, the rest of the journey was swallowed up by mundane maintenance and navigation. Freighters themselves don't require large crews and, without any huge amount of cargo, crews can number as long as 10. The Packer cared 24 grizzled mercenaries, as well as Andy and 3 ex-Fishers. For much of the four-week journey, the crew simply squabbled, drank, and fired off the occasional shot at low flying seagulls.
On August 16th, the lookout aboard the Packer spotted a large, forested landmass appearing off the port of the ship. As the sun rose, the island was revealed to them; sparkling blue seas, dotted with cresting waves; blinding white beaches covered in seashells and longboards; and lush, all-consuming vegetation, climbing mountains and seafront homes.
Andy gathered the crew together in a war council. Shouting over the excited, child-like chatter of the Mercenaries, Andy split the crew in half. Fifteen men and women would exit the ship and paddle to shore, from where they will reconnoitre the landscape and report back. The remaining thirteen will remain on the Packer, observing the away crew and making sure that no parties attack the vessel while they're away.
Again, the initial arrival on Hawaii Island proved anticlimactic. No monsters lept from the sand to attack, no raiders or degenerates swarmed from the jungle to attack them. Half an hour from the first boot landed, the mercs clambered back on to the ship, flush with excitement. The minor exploration they had done had shown them that this whole Hawaii place was pretty fine. Andy listened to their stories and began planning their next steps.
Before these next steps could be enacted, the inhabitants of Hawaii arrived. A Blood Lotus Company - mercenaries and arms dealers descended from interned Chinese-Americans - trader, Shi Lang, arrived in the area, moving along the cost to his next trade stop. Lang has plied the waves around Hawaii for over forty years and could recognise newcomers at a glance. Even without this, the large Eureka flag painted on the side of the vessel marked the ship as coming from foreign markets. Approaching the vessels with both guns ready and hands outstretched, Lang hailed the vessel hoping to trade.
Aboard the Packer, the sound of another ship's engine blew clear to Andy, who quickly jumped to action. While not the most competent of traders, Andy was familiar enough with the rules of the wasteland to approach any situation with the utmost caution. The mercenaries jumped to the railings, weapons ready to fire. Both sides pointed their weapons at the other, Victorian rifles facing against Hawaiian hardware.
Andy hailed the vessel. Through barked questions and screeched answers, it was discerned that:
- Andy and his crew weren't from around these parts
- Both wished to trade
With this information established, guns were lowered, ladders dropped and Andy and Lang approached one another to trade.
Trading Across the Seas
From this chance encounter, a beautiful relationship was born. The BLC, as Post-Nuclear arms dealers, were always in short supplies of weapons and ammunition. Andy could offer them Pre-War Australian military arms at a discounted price, in exchange for the American Energy Weapons Lang was so happy to show off. In this first encounter, Andy sold 25 Rockwell Self-Loading Rifles to Lang in exchange for seven laser pistols, five laser rifles and three plasma rifles.
Upon their return to Williamstown on September 19th, Andy quickly got to business. Showing anyone who would watch the capabilities of these Energy Weapons (or "Zappas", as they were quickly nicknamed), Andy sold all but one of each weapon in 3 days. Cutting bargains with local manufacturers and scavengers, Andy managed to secure a contract for 100 Rockwell rifles by the end of the year. By early-April, 2269, these guns had been hauled and sold and Andy was already selling more and more energy weapons in Williamstown.
The incredible power of these new weapons saw a massive increase in their sale. Andy was flush with cash and was able to buy himself back into Williamstown society. Blue Packpackers became the hit company in the area, flush with investors. And still, the company seemed to go from strength to strength.
In 2271, the company used its new funds to repair a second ship, doubling the flow of Laser and Plasma weapons. In 2274, the Lugger, as this second ship was known, was dragged by the Roarin' 40s further into the Pacific, ultimately resulting in a shortened travel time. In 2280, the company managed to cut Lang out of the picture, increasing the profitability by trading directly with the Blood Lotus Company. As of 2287, the company is still going nice and strong, operating out of both the Financial Quarter of Williamstown and Merchantstown, New Sea.
In 2287, Blue Packpackers is led by owner and founder, Honest Andy. Despite his very on hand approach to the foundation of the company, he has since taken a more laid-back attitude. Andy has captained out the Packer and Lugger to successful Fishers, and established managers for incoming trade. While still the primary conduit for dealings with the gunsmiths and the Blood Lotus Company, Andy has stepped back for all but the most major decisions. Despite this, you can still find him working the till in Williamstown every once in a while, just to keep grounded.
Blue Packpackers sell two different sets of products based on their market. In Hawaii, they sell all Australian goods: Gong drugs, Rockwell rifles, and Bighorner boots. They deal almost solely with the Blood Lotus Company. Other Hawaiians that want Australian goods must go through them.
Back in Australia, Blue Packpackers deal in two things: Laser and Plasma. Laser Pistols and Rifles are permanent members of the stores in Williamstown and New Sea. Plasma is less common but significantly more popular. The sniper rifle of energy weapons, Plasma Rifles are the dream weapon of every FIN Marine, Double P Pirate and sheriff the Bass Strait.
Surprisingly for a merchant company, Blue Packpackers has few permanent relations with outside organisations. The Pacific Bottleneck prevents the company from permanently supplying anything larger than a small settlement with energy weapons and the exorbitant cost prevents even this. As such, Blue Packpackers deals solely with their supplies and with well-off private individuals.
The BLC is the Blue Packpackers sole source of income. Without them, the company would likely be peddling Hawaiian tropical fruits or something similarly dull. The Blood Lotus Company is aware of this necessity and, while the Rockwell arms are welcome, understands their dominance in the relationship.