A former treasure hunter, he and his gang were caught in a mountain ambush. Left for dead, he crawled his way back to the nearest town and was laid up for months. Now healed, he seeks only revenge.
|Date of birth:||2241|
|Occupation:||former treasure hunter|
Cactus was born into a Lipan tribe in The Saltlands of Tamaulipas in December of 2241. His parents took him hunting and tracking from a young age, sometimes carrying him in a papoose when needed. As he grew, his parents let him hunt on his own, giving him a javelin.
He would occasionally bring a Jackalope back, but mainly just played in the desert. Around adolescence his parents began to seriously teach him how to life off of the land. This education would prove valuable in early 2259, with a famine coming upon the tribe.
Hoping he would live better than they, they filled a small pouch with supplies, and sent their son off. Not yet 18, the youth wandered aimlessly for a time, hunting when possible and eating from the pouch when he couldn't. He ran out of food one morning while walking, and couldn't find any during the day. He came upon a campsite that night, with a wafting scent of meat.
In his hunger he didn't fully process the group of men sitting there until he was right in front of them. The men chuckled and offered the young man a seat, giving him a bowl of stew. The men then began to ask Cactus about his life, introducing themselves as los chicos de pollo. He would spend the night with them there, and was offered a spot with them in the morning.
He accepted, not having any other place to go. He would learn the reason behind their name later that day, witnessing them robbing a lone merchant. His opinion of them changed dramatically when he was given a share of the loot however, and agreed to be the group's lookout. He would also become their scout, after finding a set of tracks they had missed in their camp.
He would learn many things in that year; how to handle a pistol, how to set an ambush, the proper way to bury excess loot, and many other tricks. He would be parted from his fellow chickens in early 2260, as the result of an British ambush. Fleeing as fast he could, he ended up in The District. He soon found work for a young man with his skills, acting as a guide and scout for merchants and warbands in the area.
The money he received from these contracts was greater than his share in the Comanchero gang, allowing him to live with all the comforts of civilization. He would keep a firm grip on his roots however, spending at least one week per month in the Saltlands.
Returning from one of these trips in 2263, he stopped in at a small roadside cantina. As he sat down he heard the other patrons swapping stories and bragging about their deeds. After a few drinks, he too joined in to the enjoyment of the other men.
By morning the group of six had sworn to form their own merc band and become rich. The Fusilleros then bounced around the district for a few years, reinforcing other warbands or clearing raiders. They would be driven out during a counterattack against their employer, and forced to flee due to the fire of their attacker.
After regrouping in The Highlands they proceeded into the Cattle Country, where they were involved in several Range wars between 2266 and 2269. They would again be driven out on the losing end of a conflict, retreating back into The Highlands. Resting at a small cantina, they encountered an old prospector, half-mad from radiation and horror. He told them of treasure beyond their wildest dreams, Gringo gold and silver, taken by Pancho Villa over three centuries ago. When pressed for more information, the man said that it was supposed to be hidden somewhere in The Highlands, waiting to be reclaimed.
Eager to try a less dangerous line of work, the mercenaries turned to treasure hunting. They invested what Pesos they had left over in maps and supplies, and headed out. They at first searched randomly, diving into caves and mine-shafts, but started to look for clues after the first few months of fruitlessness.
They would go from town to town listening to the old men speak, and hunt down any scrap of a lead. They would search for the next nine years, having countless adventures in that shadowed region. Their time would end in dishonor however, being ambushed by a gang of Comancheros. They had heard of another spot where the gold might be and set out, unknowing they were being set up.
When they reached the spot, a dead end in a box canyon, the bandits started, cutting down Lucas Ford almost instantly. The others dove for cover and tried to defend themselves, but couldn't withstand the hail of lead. Cactus tried to run, but caught two shells of shot in his back, throwing him to the ground.
Ambush and Revenge
After the killing was done, the bandits went among the bodies, picking choice pieces of loot. Sometime after they left Cactus woke up and began to crawl. He arrived back in town that night, an inch from death. He was taken in by the town's preacher, a Child of the Father. The holy man nursed him back to health over the next few months, as well as told him of salvation.
Cactus could only hold two thoughts however; the final looks of his friends as they were gunned downed; and the faces of the men who did it. When he was well enough to walk, he thanked the priest and set off on his new quest. He walked the valleys for two months, living off the land until he got his first lead. A merchant that he camped with had met a bandit a few nights before, and the man had told of an ambush had carried out.
Enough details matched that Cactus was interested. He pressed the merchant with more and came away with a description. He would find the man in a cantina, and after seeing him, knew he was one of the attackers.
He sat down, buying a round of drinks for the table, and complimented the group. As the night passed and the bandits grew drunker, they began to boast of their deeds, with one repeating the details of the ambush.
Cactus began to inquire about joining the gang, and was met with warm responses. When the cantina closed, he followed the gang back to their hideout and once inside, shot down every man except the one he remembered.
He only wounded him, and after several hours with the knife, learned that the other members, The Major, Sunshine, and SquareSentry were still in the Highlands. Cutting his throat, Cactus left town and returned to the church of the Radfather, before falling asleep. He awoke with a 'divine vision' with all his enemies burning in an invisible fire, which he interpreted as hell.
He awoke with a divine purpose, revenge against the attackers, that happened to be the will of the Radfather himself. He set out again a few days later, this time heading south near the border of the District, searching out Sunshine.
The trail was cold for several months, and after a false lead at the McHall Ranch, he considered going after a different member. That was until he lucked into a pair of Comancheros. The two men tried to stick him up, and when he was handing them his money, he drew his knife instead, stabbing the one and holding it to the others throat.
He was told they were from Sunshine's band and that he was expecting them within the hour. Smiling, he cut the man's throat, and began to move towards the meet-up. He drew his hunting rifle, an old bolt-action affair taken from a stash of his compatriots, and waited for the bandits to appear.
When the group of 5 appeared, he shot Sunshine in the knee, crippling him, as he picked off his followers. Eventually he crept down to the bandit to interrogate as to the location of his fellows. He worked him over slowly with his knife, and learned that their group had split months ago over the share of loot.
Sunshine only kept in contact with The Major, a deserter from the PDF, and told the Lipan how to find him. Thanking him, Cactus struck a flare and tossed it on the bloody figure, immolating him. He lost no time in tracking The Major, finding him within a matter of weeks. He could not have accounted for The Scales however, a group of justice-keepers from over the border in Nuevo Leon. The regulators dispatched a squad to arrest the bandit, and they took him just before Cactus made his move. He watched them launch their attack and arrest the bandits, then followed them back to their jail over the border.
He camped overlooking it for the first two weeks of 2281, until the bandit was dragged out in chains. He at first they were to kill him, but he watched as they put him on a mule and started them off. Following them for a day, he discovered a small town to the north, Casas de Color Rosa.
He found it to be a trade center for the region, with traders coming east to trade in Tamaulipas and some making the trek through The Highlands. He would stay there for four years, taking odd jobs at first and then turning to banditry.
He and a small gang would raid other comancheros coming into the area, returning to Pink Houses after the had gotten their loot. He oft considered going after Sentry, but the risk of losing The Major made him stay put. The Scales would seek him, but his minor status made it easy to evade the two or three men sent after him.
His chance would finally come in 2285, when half of the organization set off to take down El Cocodrilo, a raider lord in the northern reaches of Nuevo Leon. The day after the vigilantes departed, Cactus whipped his gang up and sent them after the prison, telling them a man inside knew where a stash of gold was.
Not knowing their leader's true reasoning, the bandidos threw themselves at the prison, blasting their way through one of the walls. Once inside they ran wild, machetes and pistols whirling with a frenzy. The Lipan would see little of this however, breaking off from the group to find his pray.
He heard the British man calling out, and was greeted with promises with loot, not recognizing his liberator. The pair managed to ride off to safety, while the other bandits were eventually overpowered and killed in the prison. The two broke for camp in a small cave away from town that night, and celebrated their escape. The Major was so joyous that he gave the location of the treasure and SquareSentry who was guarding it. He didn't realize until after he revealed it that he had no idea who his rescuer was.
When Cactus told him, the British man went pale and started trying to talk his way out of the cave, only to be shot in both knees by the Lipan. Cactus then retrieved a stick of dynamite from his saddle bag, and after leading the mules to safety, lit the stick and tossed it in, collapsing the cave on top of the pleading bandit.
Knowing the location of his last target, Cactus took off. Crossing the border back into Tamaulipas, he headed to the warzone of the District. Since 2285 he has been hunting the last bandido, playing long cat-and-mouse games with Sentry, who has grown more paranoid and ruthless.
Formerly gregarious and jovial, after the ambush he grew cold inside, and hasn't laughed since. He has periods of relative warmth when he's around people who help him, though that is only a small handful. In regular conversation he would be well described as aloof. he also shows a notably politeness to shopkeepers, though that might just be to gain their help.
Tall, dark and handsome on the outside, he has since grown cold on the inside. He wears his hair cut short and ragged clothes, picked from the bodies of his fellows. Formerly gregarious he hasn't smiled in the last three years, except when extracting revenge.