|Empire State Army|
|Group type:||Mercenary army|
|Location(s):||The Bronx, New York (Wakefield)|
|Founded by:||Enrique Colon, Hammer McAllister, Lord Bradley Stuart|
|Goals:||Protect the interests of The Orchard in New York City|
|Allies:||Old Lords of New York, The Orchard|
|Enemies:||Bob's Wreckers, The Machinists, National Pleasure League|
The Empire State Army was originally known as the Bronxwood Boys, a small gang that controlled a few blocks of territory in the Wakefield neighborhood of the Bronx between Bronxwood Avenue and White Plains Road from East 233rd Street to East 236th Street. Back when it was known as such, the group amounted to very little. They fought turf wars with similar small-time gangs, and were non-players in the politics of The Bronx.
In 2247, the Bronxwood Boys were transformed into the Empire State Army due to the patronage of Lord Bradley Stuart of The Orchard, an agricultural settlement roughly an hour due north of where the gang operated. Because of a cold war between the Old Lords of New York, an organization that Lord Stuart belonged to, and the Born Again Nation, Connecticut was no longer a viable destination for the goods of The Orchard to be shipped to. Tired of having his caravans raided when they entered The Bronx en route to other destinations in New York City, Lord Stuart decided to fund a small militia to protect his interests in the area. Rather than start up a group from the ground up, he and his advisors decided to instead support a group in the northern Bronx that already existed. After observing a handful of groups that met the criteria Stuart and his advisors were looking for, the Bronxwood Boys were selected. Their leader at the time, Hammer McAllister, gladly accepted the patronage and swore allegiance to Stuart and The Orchard. In exchange, he received weapons, armor, caps, training, and outsider mercenaries to bolster the ranks of his group, turning the motley crew of small-time raiders into an army, the Empire State Army.
When Bloody Bob Wheeler, leader of Bob’s Wreckers was killed by snipers from the Federal Republic of Libeteria in 2261 his lieutenant Dutch Van Arnhem took control of the group. While Dutch was respected by most, a handful of Wreckers took the change in leadership as an opportunity to leave the organization and strike it out on their own. Those men, led by Enrique Colon, were hired as mercenaries to help train and lead the Empire State Army. Hammer McAllister took exception to their being brought into the group, but given that the funds he was receiving from Lord Stuart were dependent on the former Wreckers joining the group, knew he had no choice but to accept them.
Over the next few months, McAllister and Colon butt heads, and two major ideological factions within the group began to appear- those that supported McAllister and those that supported Colon. Over time, original members of the Bronxwood Boys began respecting the former Wrecker over their own leader, as the former demonstrated true leadership qualities while the latter let his paranoia and fear of being replaced consume him. Shortly after New Years 2063, Hammer McAllister was killed by his own men, his body thrown in the Hutchinson River.
Under the leadership of Enrique Colon, the Empire State Army has prospered. He whipped the group into fighting shape and turned them into a real power in the politics of The Bronx. Getting up in age, he has begun to groom his son, Manuel, to take control of the organization, so that he can retire to a comfortable life free of violence at The Orchard.
Owing to its origins as a small-time local gang, the Empire State Army is not very selective about who is allowed to join the group. The group has members with specialized training, and is always on the lookout for such individuals, but generally speaking, anyone with basic weapon training and no qualms with using violence as a first option are welcome.
Activities & Interests
Back when they were the Bronxwood Boys, the group’s main concern was maintaining control of their turf. They were one of many other small, regional gangs in the area, and protecting every single precious block they controlled was important. Since reforming as the Empire State Army, the group no longer has to worry about keeping control of the territory they claim as their own. The groups that the Bronxwood Boys used to fight with over turf have either been wiped out, have been absorbed into the Empire State Army, or do not harass the group any longer, realizing they are now not in the same league.
Since reforming as the Empire State Army, the main goal of the group has been to protect caravans from The Orchard entering the New York City area from the north. Periodically, Lord Stuart of The Orchard has needed the Empire State Army to act as additional muscle in the affairs of Upstate New York, but those times have been far and few in between.
The remnants of the National Pleasure League control the territory due south of the Empire State Army, in the neighborhood that was once Belmont. Before the Bronxwood Boys were reformed into the Empire State Army, the National Pleasure League was the main culprit in attacking and seizing goods from caravans from The Orchard.
Bob’s Wreckers control territory further south, and to the east, in the neighborhood that was once Throgg’s Neck. The Empire State Army and the Wreckers have a frosty relationship, as Dutch Van Arnhem and Enrique Colon have a strained relationship. It is rumored that the former leader of the group, Hammer McAllister, had his body thrown into the Hutchinson River specifically as a message from Colon to Van Arnhem, as the Wrecker’s would undoubtedly find the corpse.
The Machinists control territory to the east, on what was known during Pre-War times as City Island. The group does not target caravans from The Orchard as much as it simply seeks to control territory. The Empire State Army does not have to protect goods from the north from the Machinists, but does have to periodically fight off their robots.