Work in Progress
This article is a work in progress.
|Date of birth:||2244|
|Status:||Keeping the peace in Hidalgo|
Harland Ross is the current sheriff of Hidalgo, Texas and runs the town with a distinct brand of honesty. Ross is also the co-founder of La Legión de la Gente which he lead to free Hidalgo from comanchero control. In Ross's 37 years of life, he has been a brahmin drover, scavenger, bartender, prize fighter, faro dealer, caravaneer, and bandit. What really makes Ross famous is the fact that he gunned down the famous King of Comancheros, Benedicto Aguado, in a fair gunfight. Harland's police force also holds a little fame for having other legends on the force, such as Two-Gun Billy.
Ross was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, across the Rio Grande from its sister-city Fort Brown, Texas. Harland grew up on a ranch, learning to crop plants and drive brahmin for his father by age ten. In his teens, Harland was a ranchhand for his neighbors the Huertas whose daughter he played with as children. The small community watched Carmen and Harland grow up and their parents arranged a marriage for the two. Harland left everything behind despite his fiancé's and families' pleas in 2261.
The Great Nicaraguan Cattle Drive
Harland left his life behind at seventeen in 2261 for the Great Nicaraguan Cattle Drive. Harland embarked torwards the cattle town of Valle Hermoso to sign on as a much-needed "veterinarian." Word spread for years prior about the need for cattle in Nicaragua. That country had the "God-given fortune of avoiding nuclear devastation" but needed a sustainable food source. During the Resource Wars, Nicaragua was half-way through a civil war but nonetheless well prepared for nuclear war. Over the next hundred years, the government unified parts of the country. They had made contact with Mexico in 2258 in search of a foodsource and ordered 10,000 brahmin at 200 caps per body.
It was a massive venture full of famous and later famous names. Esteban Ignacio Chavez, representing Valle Hermoso, and Salvador Miranda, representing San Fernando led the drive. The two towns were once bitter competitors and hosted range wars in the past. In addition to the old enemies, came gunmen who would become famous: Jean-Napoleon Arceneaux the wild-card pistol-fighter of Tamaulipas, Pedro Fontanez later known as the Terror of Tampico, Dante Solano who would be famous as the only man the Bandoleros of Ciudad Camargo feared, and Harland Ross, the future sheriff of Hidalgo.
The drive lasted three years: mid 2261 to 2264. The 300 or so drovers faced banditos and comancheros, mutants, hard weather and storms, rough terrain, and internal strife. Only 220 made it to the ruins of Ciudad Guatemala, not many chose to return to San Ferando and split up near Mexico City. Ross had the experience of a lifetime traveling long miles everyday and managing the brahmin and longhorns. He learned to defend himself, trap animals, barter, and made friends. Some lessons were harder to learn, like losing friends, losing poker, and losing profits, but nonetheless Harland departed San Fernando for Matamoros in March 2264.
Ross returned home to the Matamoros-Fort Brown with almost 10,000 pesos. Harland could buy and sharecrop the largest ranch in town. However, Harland's life changed when he found his darling gone, captured in a slave raid two weeks earlier. He hated and blamed himself for the disaster and went insane with grief. Harland would spend the next five years wandering as far south as Mexico's capital and as far north-east as The Big Easy regretting his life.
Time in Mexico
Time in US
Enrico Demarco Pizana
Ross barely escaped Mexico with his life but stopped in San Benito, a small town north with a near friendly attitude. He pedaled his junk, and stayed to drink. At a poker game Ross learned that Pizana had rolled through the day before and was headed for the Lexxx. The significance behind this is that Pizana was believed to be behind the raid on Matamoros over a year ago. The next morning Ross wandered along Route 77 towards the Lexxx.
Ross spent nearly a week on the way to Corpus Christi (The Corpse). One of these nights Ross was taken captive by three comancheros while eating Clint Y Brett Frijoles (Clint N Brett’s Beans). Ross managed to kill the robbers and gain a Type 93, and learned they were a gang from the Corpse, the Annaville Reds.
Harland later arrived in the suburb of Robstown, a town under siege by the Reds. Since Robstown was extremely close to the Corpse Ross stayed just long enough to find some information on how to get through the city alive. Heading straight for the town hall, since Robstown seemed to have too many bars and saloons, Ross met the “mayor” of Robstown, Robert “the Robber of Robstown” Barter (named after the town), who convinced Ross to help them fight the Reds in exchange for information.
With his new repeater, Ross led a group of six men to Annaville and bombed Violet (“Violent”) Street, and then retreated to Robstown. The town was defensible by the time Ross’s group returned. Robert, expecting Ross to die in Annaville, mined the northern fields Ross’s group crossed—killing one. Five minutes later the Reds counterattacked with roughly forty slaves and sixty armed men. The town killed the slaves fast, but the tribals surrounded the northern part of town. Ross fought side-by-side with Robert and realized they were losing; Ross argued with Robert about his end of the deal. After a heated and short arguement, at gunpoint Ross asked once, “How do I get to the Lexxx?” to which Robert answered, “Through Gardendale or Flour Bluff, take the ferry!” And as fast as Ross came he left, leaving Robstown to its dismal fate.
Harland arrived in Gardendale slightly scathed. He relayed the news of Robstown to the Greens. Ross was thanked and offered a place to stay. At dawn the smoke from Robstown could be seen, and Ross was ferried to The Lexxx. He spent a week trying to find someone who knew Pizana, and eventually learned he originally missed Enrico by eight hours and was headed for Houston, so Ross set out. He make brief stops in Victoria, Edna, El Campo, and Rosenberg before reaching Houston.
Harland wandered through Houston’s skeleton and immediately noticed the signs of a large gunfight around the Convention Center: people burying relatives and re-opening shops. Ross asked around and eventually found a shopkeep who could help. The stranger explained Pizana came ranting through looking for tributes. Eventually, the extortion turned violent and led to a massacre. Harland thanked the man, bought .45 rounds and a new M1911. Harland sped through downtown, stopping briefly to help a few people and kill some raiders. After all, Harland could relate to suffering at the hands of Enrico Pizana. By dusk, the city fires were far behind the cowboy.
Heading east, a full day passed, and on the second night, Harland saw a hilltop campfire north of I-10. Harland climbed a dark hill and observed its neighbor, drawing his Colt and Ruger. Ross saw ragged tents encircling a bonfire, hearing masculine laughter and feminine screams. The men were stumbling drunk and raping what looked like slave-girls. Harland had a gut feeling: Pizana. Harland got anxious, angry, what if Carmen was there? He arose, guns cocked, lips dry, blood surging.
Harland crossed the trough and climbed the hill. He clearly saw Enrico Demarco Pizana raping a woman, Carmen. In blind red rage, Harland raised his Blackhawk and M1911 and shot Pizana twice in the face. Harland waltzed and blasted through the campsite uncontrollably, and the event blurred with adrenaline. Ross shot anything that moved. Ross felt a smack on the head, a sharp pain in his stomach, and he went numb. Harland felt only guilt and rage over chasing Enrico for over a year. The cowboy’s body shut down, but he kept firing. Ross killed until nothing moved.
Ross fell on his knees. The blur of anger began to fade away, and Harland’s situation became real again. Blood ran down his body and dripped everywhere. The landscape changed around Harland, several tents caught fire and illuminated the carnage. Twelve men, some of them teenagers, and two young ladies were dead. Ross remembered nothing, but saw the bodies. One man was decapitated by his own machete, one girl was shoved head-first into a rock, all the bodies were shot multiple times. The adrenaline faded and the anxiety hit. Harland’s body burned all over, he lifted his shirt to find a buried knife, and saw the bat behind him that cracked his skull. Did he kill these kids? He vomited and felt sick, out of injury and disgust at what he did. His cheeks burned with tears as Harland folded to the ground with a thud.
Harland woke up an unknown number of days later in a small office with a young girl hovering over him. Harland hurt everywhere and was bandaged head-to-toe, he ached while the girl stared. Harland learned the girl rescued him from the camp by dragging him to a doctor in a small town. Harland spent over two months recovering from three gunshots, stab wounds, a skull fracture, an appendectomy, and an infection from a bad blood transfusion. The bedrest gave Ross time to think, flashbacks of that fiery night returned in bits--and pushed Harland into depression. He spoke with his rescuer every day, and she grew to love him.
After his long bedrest, Harland was haunted and regretted his revenge. Carmen was still gone, Enrico was dead and the camp burned down, Ross had no answers. The girl, who reminded him of Carmen and saved his life, stayed by his side during his recovery and tried to ease his pain. She talked and learned about Harland and what he endured. She told Harland he cannot hate himself, but it was to no avail. At the end his rest Harland left, leaving a broken heart in tears at the doctor's office after a long argument. Ross dismally return to Enrico Pizana's camp. It was brutally burned out, and Ross found no clues concerning Carmen. Out of defeat Ross carried himself east until he found a purpose again.
The Big EasyThe cowboy's wandered from Houston to New Orleans aimlessly. He had no purpose or motives and life mattered not to this broken man. Harland first encountered The Royaume through their baronies stretched across US 90. He followed "the Ribbon" to the capital city of Tuloya. Harland found the buildings, walls, and levees of The Architects fascinating, as well as the beauty of the Royal Library founded by Arthur Casson, and the Royal Palace of the Devereux Dynasty. The current Roi, or King, of the Royaume was Étienne Devereux, Jérôme Devereux's second son.
Harland enjoyed the safety of the city which was rare in Texas and even rarer in Tamaulipas. He quickly discovered Vieux Carré and succumbed to its vices. Harland took odd-jobs as a doorman, armed escort, or bartender to pay for his chems and gambling. It was while breaking up a four-man fight working in a bar Harland was "discovered" by Rémigius (Rémy) Baillion (named after Saint Remigius).Initially, Rémy Baillion sought to take advantage of Harland's chem and gambling issues, promising more if he would train with Rémy. Harland agreed and Rémy groomed the cowboy for a fight. After a couple weeks, Harland went up against his first opponent, Radroach. It was easy for Harland, facing a feeble drug addict. Harland continued to win and was making a name for himself. His ring matches egged the attention of Obed Narcisse, the gangster in charge of the French Quarter. After knocking out "Gorilla" Edwards in the second round, Obed was impressed--which meant more caps, women, and chips for Harland and Rémy.
At this point, Rémy was raking in caps taking Harland to fight over at Tuloya in front of the aristocracy. Harland was fighting once a week and was known around the city, having posters advertising his brawls. Inbred Joe, Pinhead Larry, Mad Mo, and Trainy Louis(e?) all lost to Harlãnd la Cowboy. Pretty soon the Roi himself wanted to host a championship fight between the two top fighters: Harland Ross and Jordane LeBlanc.
It was six months into Harland career, by now he had thirty-three matches: twenty-one wins, nine draws, and three losses. The Roi built a ring in his main dining foyer, hundreds were seated inside the building to watch this epic fight between a drifter and one of their own. Jordane Michael LeBlanc-Manseau, or Jordane Mississippi the "Roi of the Ring" was the best fighter in New Orleans before Harland ever showed up.
In an amazing event, known as the Royaume 2267 Boxing Championship, Harland finally lost in the third round because Jordane Mississippi put pepper juice on his boxing tape. Harland was blinded by the match and had to be carried out of the palace by Gendarmes and was promptly dropped in the mud and forgotten. Rémy tried to help Harland in the following days to prepare for his comeback but Harland felt he was washed up. He missed his family, it was time to head home.
Ross's next paraless adventure would take place in San Antonio, Texas--far from New Orleans and Matamoros. The city of San Antonio had been locked in bloody combat between the Lone Star Army and the current gang in control, the Mexican Militia. For months the Hills Country of Texas was a warzone, consuming adventurers and exiling refugees. Commancheros gathered for loot or to escape lawmen, and the Lone Star Army attracted mercenaries to divide up the Militia's treasures.
Harland wandered towards the mess, not for any particular reason other than glory or death. A tiny parcel of his soul hoped for a miracle that he would find some comanchero that knew Pizana. As he wandered closer to the booms and the flashes of San Antonio he passed several bands of refugees, bandits, and arms dealers offering him warnings or merchandise. On the eastern edge of the city Ross found his first taste of the mess that would ensue. A group of confederates were gathering men for a raid on a neighby factory controlled by the Mexicans. After stumbling upon them, Harland was pressured into "aiding" them. Without much choise, and seeing no better way to familiarize himself, Ross agreed.
They moved a few blocks deeper and advanced on the factory. They got close before the gunfire started. For over an hour Ross and the confederates fought their way inside, they fought room to room and killed more than twenty men before the Mexicans retreated. Ross and the platoon gathered weapons and ammo and sat to celebrate. In minutes several men were drunk and celebrating with gunfire. Within thirty minutes the Mexicans returned to counterattack, and easily overwhelmed the conferates. Forced to retreat, several men died as they fled across the street. For the rest of the day they traded shots across a wide alley, Ross hated this kind of fighting.
Over the next few weeks Ross meanered through the city like a Russian sniper in Stalingrad. Ross migrated from group to group; he would share a campfire with Mexicans by morning, learn nothing, and be shooting at them by noon. Sometimes he found himself sharing a meal in the homes of refugees, too scared or desperate to move. It was brutal seige with moments of intense violence, like the frontlines of WWI. Mortar shelling was constant from both sides, the city laid in complete ruin.
Battle of the Comanchero Capital
Most of this section is taken from Hidalgo, to see more click here.
Harland entered Hidalgo with a pack brahmin loaded with old hunting rifle parts scavenged from a shack in Mexico. Hoping to make some coin, he stopped in the Dynasty Saloon where he finally saw Carman Huerta. After five years of searching, he had found her again; she was a slave for the bar owner, Emilio Aguado. Harland knew he had to spring her to freedom. Harland was able to speak to Emilio but was unable to buy her, and stealing her away was suicide. He was able to find solace and clarity in an old cardhouse in town.
La Legión de la GenteOver the next week Harland seemed to find the same old strangers, one of them being the future leader of La Legión de la Gente Pancho Mendoza. During this time these strangers complained about and eventually planned the overthrow of Benedicto Aguado. This was Harland's only way of winning Carman's freeman. Pancho, Harland, and the five other table players formed the People's Legion and used Pancho's cardhouse to fund their operations.
Over the next two months, Mendoza and Ross went door-to-door trying to discreetly recruit members and supporters out of the honest paisanos of Hidalgo. Harland planned places to ambush and snipe at commanchero hangouts, hid weapons and medicine, and led groups of farmers and store owners to practice plinking. At the end of two months, the People's Legion was confident, undiscovered, and nearly two hundred strong. On November sixth during Aguado's birthday, the People's Legion finally sprang their trap while the commancheros were at their drunkest.
Second Battle of Hidalgo
Ross, with his past experiences like Robstown and San An, effectively led the town in their revolt. In a series of surprises and ambushes, the townspeople rushed their way through town, gunning down any bandito. Harland marched his army right up to the hospital where Aguado, his closest lieutenants and brother, and Carman were.
The comancheros were caught unaware and drunk, they were hacked to pieces with machetes. The only man who managed to hold his own was Aguado himself. With his pair of .44 magnums, he was said to have killed nine men before the fighting stopped and he challenged Ross to a duel. The last comanchero stared down Ross as a small army stared in awe. Harland ordered Aguado be let free if he were to win.
The two men paced in a circle around each other for near four minutes. Aguado drew on Ross before the hero could clear his holster. The round cracked and Harland went deaf. Miraculously keeping his composure, Harland aimed his pre-War Mexican Army revolver and shot Aguado dead in his chest. With that shot, Harland Ross became a Legend of the Wastes and Hidalgo set free.
Once Aguado was killed the town quickly celebrated. Ross assumed the role of sheriff with his new wife, Carmen. With Hidalgo liberated by a paisano army and their leader just-married many would call the event the ultimate love story. This new legend of the wasteland attracted many visitors to town after that battle to see if the legends were true. Ross saw the opportunity and told every caravan that if they stayed the night in Hidalgo they could take one firearm of their choosing from the comancheros stockpile. For the next six months, some made out with high-quality assault rifles as the hotels gained money from renters, gamblers, drinkers, and dining patrons.
Harland, in his old age, is often found in his famous cowboy outfit seen in his 2276 photograph. Harland wears a brown cowboy hat, brown bowtie, dark brown jacket, white buttom-up shirt, and worn-out jeans with brahmin leather patches. Harland has custom-tailored deathclaw leather boots and wears light leather armor on one shoulder. And a gold pre-War wedding band can be seen on his ring finger and matches the one his wife, Carmen, has.
In 2287, Harland walks with a cane since his injuries from San Antonio never healed properly. His main equipment are his two famous handguns, "Carmen's Revenge" and "Matamoros de Negra." Both of these weapons have been used by Harland for years and can still be seen hanging from his belt. Harland also has a collection of weapons and memoirs from his travels.
Harland has a collection of guns by 2287 and include:
- Carmen's Revenge:" .45 Colt M1911, rebuilt 1912 edition, engraved, blued steel, and engraved pearl grip
- Matamoros de Negra:" Harland's female piece: .45 Ruger Blackhawk, engraved steel grip
- Type 93: a Chinese Assault Rifle looted from an Annaville Red in Texas
- Several unnamed repeater variants
- several unnamed shotguns variants
- AER9 Tri-Beam Laser Shotgun
- Laser blunderbuss from San Antonio
- Brass knuckles
- Bowe knife
- Zednaught signature saw-axe
- A sombrero from a Mexican Militia officer in San Antonio
- A red bandana from an Annaville Red at the Robstown Massacre
- The skull of his horse, "Texas"