- "Get closer lads, I want to be able to hit them with my Shishkebab!"
- ―Clyde Everett egging his men on during the Battle of Lebanon
|Motto:||Go to Hell, Might as Well|
|Goals:||Profit, Revenge on the Twin Pines Pack|
|Allies:||Northwestern Alliance, Oregon tribals, Sons of Liberty, Degenerates|
|Enemies:||New California Republic, Badlanders|
A short-lived mercenary group that fought in the Oregon Brushfire Wars alongside the Northwestern Alliance, the Free Army was not as altruistic as its name may suggest. The group was mainly bank-rolled by the raider-dominated King's Council in Seattle to help halt NCR expansion north.
The Free Army originated in 2264 when Stern's Raiders were briefly captured by King's Council when they went to Seattle. Stern's Raiders both angered and impressed the Council when they escaped the King County International Airport with all their captured equipment. This gave King's Council a good impression of Stern's Raiders and their movement, though many in Stern's Raiders continued to hold a grudge against the raider-dominated Council.
Clyde Everett also met some of Stern's Raiders soon after their daring escape from King's Council. At a cafe in Emerald City waiting for another mercenary job, Clyde was not especially impressed with the Raiders' ex-Ranger credentials but respected their resolve after hearing more of their story. Nonetheless, Clyde mostly forgot about the meeting and did not think about the group for about a year afterward.
That was until 2266 when King's Council began hearing rumblings to the south about the mounting conflict between the newly formed Northwestern Alliance and the mighty New California Republic. Like many in Seattle and around Cascadia, King's Council feared the NCR's slow creep north and decided to throw their considerable weight behind the Northwestern Alliance, which was led by Stern's Raiders.
To do this, King's Council at first considered sending their own forces to go south and fight in the conflict themselves. They quickly decided against this, seeing it as too costly. So, the Council instead decided to fund an army of mercenaries from all across Cascadia to fight the NCR.
In late 2266, King's Council began contacting mercenaries all over Cascadia, from southern Canada to Seattle to northern Oregon. The first large group of mercenaries assembled in northern Oregon, led by a former raider named Drake Terrenzi, and named itself the Free Army in opposition to the NCR. They were given orders to stay put until more mercenaries came to support them.
In the next couple of months, more mercenaries began to come together in Seattle from the city itself, other parts of Washington, and southern Canada. Clyde Everett, being a mercenary, soon heard about the King's Council's mercenary offer and instantly took up the offer. Being an experienced, well-known mercenary, Clyde Everett became the leader of the mercenaries gathering in Seattle. He and the other mercenaries took up temporary residence in Emerald City to gather their strength. Former raiders, Degenerates, and even just ambitious residents of Emerald City joined the mercenaries' ranks in those months.
The Free Army, still encamped in northern Oregon, became increasingly exasperated by King's Council's slow progress in assembling mercenaries, holding them back from joining the main body of the Northwestern Alliance. Luckily, the mercenaries, led by Clyde Everett, arrived in early 2267 before any desertions began. However, this brought with it a whole other set of problems.
Before they went off to battle the NCR, the leadership of the Free Army had a brief power struggle between the two dominant personalities of the group: Drake Terrenzi and Clyde Everett. Terrenzi, though less known and younger, had already been leading the Free Army for several months and was as stubborn as a mule. Though he was a former raider, Terrenzi had a firm code of honor he followed. Clyde Everett on the other hand was a superficially charming monster with no qualms about his actions as long as it could gain him more notoriety or power. So in early 2267, Clyde Everett and Drake Terrenzi made their moves. Eventually, due to the fact he would go to any lengths to gain power, Clyde Everett came out on top and took control. He made himself Captain over everyone in imitation of Jakob Stern and began to centralize the Free Army from there. Captain Everett allowed Drake Terrenzi to live since he was too popular with too many people to knock off, and Terrenzi soon became a very prominent member of the Free Army, ranking just below Everett. The Free Army was finally ready to move out of their north Oregon camp in April 2267.
By then, the main body of the Northwestern Alliance's forces had moved south to harass NCR caravans, military assets, and towns. The Free Army followed their allies' lead south and by the summer had engaged the NCR and their Badlander allies in a series of escalating skirmishes on I-5. This constant stream of small skirmishes chipped away at the Free Army's numbers but gave them better experience and reputation at the same time.
These constant skirmishes gave members of the Free Army many casualties. The only reason the Free Army did not fall apart was due to the actions of one woman: Jade. This wonder woman from Chinatown produced medicine around the clock in her brahmin-drawn trailer. Only Jade's rigid work regimen kept her sane.
The Free Army's first base of operations was in the ruins of the town Lebanon, where they were safe to raid I-5. For a time, at least. That was until the NCR made an big push to secure I-5, attacking several Alliance positions simultaneously including Lebanon.
The Battle of Lebanon was a hard-fought one, with NCR troopers and Badlanders facing off against the rather motley Free Army. At first, the Free Army was pushed back by the enemy's superior firepower but managed to bog them down in Lebanon's ruins, eventually surrounding them. It was a disaster for the NCR to say the least (though more Badlanders died). Any NCR troopers who were captured were subjected to inhumane tortures under pain of death to amuse some in Free Army before being released. Any Badlanders captured were handed over to the Degenerates in the Free Army (besides a Badlander woman Drake Terrenzi would save and later marry).
The Battle of Lebanon was a decisive Alliance victory, but the rest of the Alliance forces on I-5, Oregon tribals and the Sons of Liberty, had crumbled in the face of the Bear. Their failure angered Captain Everett but he ultimately followed Stern's orders to meet up with the Sons of Liberty at a small homesteader outspost called Edna's Hill to regroup.
After the Free Army arrived at Edna's Hill, their numbers began to swell. More young Degenerates from Seattle began to arrive as well as some NCR trooper deserters. Captain Everett welcomed these new arrivals but worried about possible conflicts that would arise from the Free Army's growth. So, Everett got Jade to start producing recreational chems such as jet and mentats so the soldiers could "chill out". Jade disapproved of this move, but she followed directions and started pumping out recreational chems.
This led to a rise in morale but a sizable dip in discipline. By the time the Sons of Liberty arrived at Edna's Hill, this process was already happening. Most of the Sons were disgusted by the Free Army's abuse of chems, comparing them to common raiders. This was worsened by the Free Army attacks on NCR homesteads, which increased in ferocity as they got more drugged up. The Buxton Massacre, the killings of three whole families and a caravan, was carried out by the Free Army. The Sons of Liberty loathed attacking civilian targets and made this clear constantly. That was not the only conflicts between the Sons of Liberty and the Free Army though. It was also personal.
Clyde Everett and Owen Curtis disliked each other perhaps more than any other people in the entire Pacific Northwest. Everett considered Curtis an puckered lizard asshole who was stuck in the past while Curtis considered Everett a demon in the flesh, a man willing to do anything to further himself. The two had many heated arguments and one physical confrontation. Not much is known about these arguments beyond Everett mentioning "children" multiple times. In the end, Everett had to talk to Curtis through Terrenzi, who Curtis hated for being an ex-raider but at least did not argue with.
The intention of the Free Army and the Sons of Liberty mounting a joint defense of their position on I-5 became more unlikely everyday. They would occasionally clash with NCR patrols and raid NCR homesteads, but most of the fighting was really done against each other. By 2268, the Sons of Liberty had moved north to join the Siege of Fort Eugene, leaving the Free Army alone at Edna's Hill. That was when the NCR struck.
The NCR attack on Edna's Hill came down hard on the Free Army, since NCR forces wanted the Alliance to divert their attention there rather than Fort Eugene. The NCR came from the south and made a head-on assault on Edna's Hill. The Free Army was caught off guard by the attack, forced to mount a desperate attempt at defense. The homestead was torn up by the NCR's attack, and many died on both sides. The Battle of Edna's Hill was ultimately a stalemate, and the NCR turned back south, exhausted.
However, the effect the battle had on the Free Army was devastating. Almost half of the Free Army was killed and Captain Everett was also killed. Drake Terrenzi, losing more than half his own men, decided to leave the Free Army instead of taking the lead, taking Jade along with him. Shiv the Degenerate took control of the Free Army after Terrenzi's departure as Warboss. This, along with the Degenerates cannibalizing Everett's remains, alienated the non-Degenerate part of the Free Army with more and more soldiers deserting. When Shiv and the Degenerates decided to retreat from Edna's Hill to Cascadia State Park, the rest of the Free Army decided to split and go back to Seattle. At that point, the Free Army ceased to exist and the name fell out of use.
After the group's dissolution in the wake of Captain Everett's death, the Free Army split up. These remnants divided into two main groups, the tribals and the civilized.
The tribal elements of the Free Army, led by Shiv and his Degenerates, made their way to Cascadia State Park. From there, the tribal remnants of the Free Army would continue their war against the NCR for the next few months, following in their predecessors' footsteps in continuing to give the Northwestern Alliance bad reputation. These remnants were eventually ejected from the Northwestern Alliance and their allies in Seattle purged by King's Council. After receiving a wave of refugees from Seattle, skirmishes with the nearby Sons of Liberty, and devastating attacks from Badlander renegades, the Degenerates decided to go beyond the Cascades to seek safety in 2270. They did just that in early February, 2270, going into the wilderness and the unknown for many years.
The civilized elements of the Free Army split into two smaller groups due to a leadership dispute between Drake Terrenzi and a bloodthirsty merc named Rigg. The larger group, led by Drake Terrenzi, made their way north back to Seattle while the smaller group, led by Rigg, went south.
Terrenzi's group made their way up I-5 towards where they could cross a river crossing at Portland. They lost several people on the road but managed to eventually make it to the ruins of Portland. A couple of them split off from the group outside of Portland due to the rest of the group's problem with their increasing addiction to chems, caused by their time in the Free Army. Those chem fiends formed the foundation of the Waste Lords, a new raider gang that would ravage Portland. This raider gang would led by Vince, a man with a love for elaborate executions. After dumping the chem fiends, the group moved on through Portland. They eventually made contact with the Mutant Hunters, a group of law-bringers within the ruined city who protected its residents through questionable methods. Some of the Free Army remnants, feeling too ashamed to return to Seattle, decided to join up with the Mutant Hunters. These remnants remained when the Mutants Hunters joined the FNA. Terrenzi's group finally reached Seattle in late 2270 and mostly went back to being mercs. Terrenzi himself, broken by his experiences, now lives retired in Emerald City. He attempted suicide in 2278 but failed. A group of his former comrades in Free Army look after him out of reverence but he overall remains a nervous wreck. Jade on the other hand used the skills she learned and the connections she made during the war to rapidly take over Seattle's chem trade. Jade now lives rich in a high-life apartment in Chinatown and owns several chem labs throughout Seattle's ruins. Jade has great pull within the city among various factions, and she is currently trying to use her power to discover the secret behind the Geigers' new chem, Jars. Jade has given back to her comrades in her own way by hiring many Free Army vets as bodyguards and thugs. She remembers her time in Free Army without fondness but does pity many who cannot move on, especially Drake Terrenzi since he was one of her only friends in the Free Army. He did not see her as just a woman or a resource. Jade has offered Terrenzi a job on various occasions, but he has always refused for some reason.
Rigg's group moved south down I-5, hoping to link up with Alliance forces. They found none and instead encountered the Purifiers, a genocidal cult that worshipped death. The Free Army remnants were devastated by the Purifiers' frequent raids and were forced further south. Desperate and unable to escape north, Rigg and his men eventually just surrendered themselves to the NCR in 2269. The top brass considered just executing them in relation to the Free Army's war crimes but instead decided to just execute Rigg to make an example and give the rest of them a choice: join the newly created Free Northwestern Army or join the line in front of a firing squad. All of the remnants chose the former and since then have served diligently. One them, Mahers, has even risen to the rank of colonel within the FNA and is the right-hand man to the group's "official" leader, General Homer Jay.
The Free Army made use of lots different equipment, mostly supplied by sources in Seattle. Their most common clothing choices were leather armor, combat armor, and mercenary gear. Some equipment worn only by individuals included a suit of marine armor and an advanced radiation suit. Their trademark weapon was the crossbow, as it saved on bullets and microfusion cells. The Free Army also made use of the laser rifle and the combat rifle. Some less common weapons included the combat shotgun, the gauss rifle, and the submachine gun.
A famous merc from Seattle, Captain Clyde Everett was the leader of the Free Army and a prominent but controversial figure within the Northwestern Alliance. He has often been called a monster, a sociopath, and a mass-murderer without a shred of empathy. His close friends and followers in the Free Army would oppose this viewpoint, as many of them remember well as a charming, handsome man. That is exactly what Everett wanted them to think.
A Degenerate member of the Free Army, Shiv was a boisterous young man with loads of optimism when he joined but emerged after the end of the Free Army as a more soft spoken individual more suited to later lead the rest of the Degenerates in their continued fight against the Twin Pines Pack and the NCR.
A raider turned mercenary, Drake Terrenzi was remarkably principled for someone who used to be a raider. Terrenzi had his own code that he lived by even when he was a raider, emphasizing honesty, trust, and loyalty. This code got him into a lot of trouble in his days as a raider and when he became a part of the Free Army. Terrenzi's personal code also prevented him from ever gaining the true leadership or confidence of the Free Army. Nevertheless, Drake Terrenzi remained a prominent, high-ranking member of the Free Army throughout its existence, second only to Clyde Everett in importance. He was one of the few members of the Free Army that always detested Clyde Everett.
An auxiliary within the Free Army, Jade was a specialist who assisted the group with her Pip-Boy and her various non-combat related skills such as medicine, science, and business acumen. Jade acted as the Free Army's behind the scenes support and was the only reason the group's logistics did not fall apart. Jade's beauty and intelligence were well-known within the Free Army but her modesty prevented her from ever exploiting these attributes for her own gain. She was always better with numbers and machines than with people, but that did not prevent her from eventually coming out on top when the Free Army finally dispersed. She was also a mild germaphobe and afraid of mutation caused by radiation, which was why she was hardly ever seen without her advanced radiation suit.
The Free Army had a culture of brutality and materialism, being composed mostly of tribals, mercenaries, and former raiders. Discipline was next to non-existent besides among Drake Terrenzi's men. The only real rule was the rule of the strong. Women in particular were vulnerable to victimization, with rape being common within the Free Army's camp. This was used to great effect in NCR propaganda against the Northwestern Alliance.
The group even had conflict within their own ranks between civilized and tribal members due to their varying levels of brutality. The Degenerate Badlanders and Oregon tribals within the Free Army were disliked due to their "primitive" nature and cannibalism. The Badlanders in particular were disliked because their infamous reputation. Bigotry within the Free Army was officially condemned, but no one really did anything to stop it.
Due to basically being funded by raiders, the Free Army always had a heavy focus on money. It was even made into part of the Free Army's flag as the dollar sign soon after the group's creation. Anything could be bought or sold in the camp of the Free Army. One of the Free Army's hallmarks were their dollar sign tattoos, which many of their former members, even Degenerates, still have.
- "After a while, it wasn't hard anymore. Make chems, make stim-paks, occasionally trade. As long as they paid me and I got to sleep six hours, I did whatever they wanted."
- ―Jade being humble about her role within the Free Army
- "That bitch is mine! You're a feisty one!"
- ―Clyde Everett chasing down a nubile Badlander
- "What'll it be, your arms or your legs?"
- ―Clyde Everett giving an NCR trooper a difficult choice
- "FREEDOM BITCH!"
- ―Common warcry within the Free Army
- "Captain Everett? Frankly Jakob, if he wasn't fighting for us, I'd shoot him and his whole pack of animals. All they've done is give us a bad reputation."
- ―Commander Owen Curtis when asked by Jakob Stern about his experiences with the Free Army
- "Good times, good times."
- ―Shiv, the Warboss of the Degenerates, remembering the Free Army
- "The Free Army? Savages hiding behind a civilized name. They killed, raped, pillaged, and for what? Not freedom, money."
- ―NCR General Brian Harmon about the Free Army
- "They good fighters. Wish could hire them."
- ―An Oregon tribal being asked about the Free Army while his village is under attack by geckos
|This has been written by MongoosePirate. Please contact this user before editing this article|