- "Sure, life's rough here in Nuevo Progreso, at any given time you're a second away from being shot or stabbed or worse. But at least here, you're free"
- ―Ray Skrabanek defending his 'Open' town, 2215.
|Notable events:||Battle of Carlos' Cantina|
|Current status:||Small 'Open' Border Town|
Situated on the former border between Mexico and Texas, Nuevo Progreso is a small pueblo with a not so small history of comanchero violence and rowdiness. An 'Open' town on the border, Nuevo Progreso is lawless, men and women look out for themselves and their families while the few merchants in town profit from the caps, pesos, and loot that raiders, thieves, banditos, highwaymen, and comancheros bring in to spend and trade for watered-down drinks, cheap chems, poker chips, loose women, and a good time before going back out to raid and plunder some more.
Prior to The War, Nuevo Progreso was a small Mexican border town of little significance. Connected by bridge to Progreso Lakes, Texas, Nuevo Progreso relied on customs duties from those entering Mexico, a small hospitality sector of fast food restaurants and a motel or two, and outlying ranching to stay afloat, which wasn't very hard seeing how at its peak in 2035 the town only had 15,000 residents.
Never surpassing the status of a small town, Nuevo Progreso tried the construction of a community college, petitioning for government grants, and offering generous tax subsidies to Mexican and American companies if they would open a factory of any kind in town, however it was to no avail. During the American occupation of Mexico to secure oil pipelines, Nuevo Progreso was among the first towns occupied, controlled by a contingent of one hundred troopers from the Texas State National Guard who, while not supposed to be a foreign invasion force, were easier to station in such a small town as compared to a better trained and equipped federal force.
Nuevo Progreso was a town so small and insignificant that those who bombed Mexico, the Chinese, the Bolivians, and the Americans didn't even touch the town. The residents all heard the blast waves and felt the shock of the bombs dropping, but the closest one was fifty miles away. At first, they didn't know what to think and some began to panic, others fled, and most simply continued on. This wasn't so when the Texas National Guard unit stationed in town received news of the attack over still operating radios and fled the town over the international bridge to Progreso Lakes, leaving the jail doors unlocked and no order in the streets. By nightfall, the town was in anarchy due to fear of the unknown event that had left the town deserted by the gringos.
The morning after the bombs fell the town was in chaos and completely lawless. Several former police officers grabbed pistols from their gun safes and attempted to restore order however the force was too small to keep a panicked town in line and managed to only secure a small section of the town in and around the bridge to Progreso Lakes. The town's small criminal gangs began to secure their neighborhoods while citizen vigilantes grabbed their hunting weapons and personal sidearms and defended their neighborhoods against looters and criminals.
Due to the high rate of gun ownership, violence was actually quite low in the first month as would be thugs were deterred from violence and looting by well-armed citizens in windows, rooftops, and behind makeshift barricades made from cars, drum barrels, and furniture out on the street. However this lack of violence stopped when the food began to run low and the radiation began to set in. Families united and fought as they attacked neighborhoods to loot the homes for food and medicine. Realizing the crisis, the police remnants moved in to secure the town's only pharmacy which they began to use as their base of operations, fending off the scavengers and supplying survivors with radiation medicine.
However the radiation medicine proved to be the downfall of Nuevo Progreso as it was contaminated with toxic levels of chlorine due to the fact that the plant it was made at was also produced chlorine products for swimming pools. The medicine which was fought over by armed neighborhood militias and criminal gangs ended up killing each other for turned out to kill them. Within four months there weren't even fifty people in town and by early 2078 it had been abandoned with the few survivors crossing the international bridge to Progreso Lakes, Texas.
For over a century Nuevo Progreso was silent, a small little dormant town connected to Texas via a bridge over the Rio Grande. Eventually, the bridge collapsed and varmints began to infest the ruins of the small town which was picked over by scavengers for what little loot it had by the early 2140s. Occasionally bandits and comancheros resided in the town as a hideout and travelers would sleep in a bed in one of the houses before moving on. The town was a small ghost town, dormant and dead.
New LifeHowever in 2198, the town was revived when chance brought a visionary to the ruins of the ghost town. Carlos Martinez was a caravaneer who found his caravan ambushed by comancheros in the spring of 2198. Killing one of the banditos with his Dama revolver, Martinez fled and found the town with the comancheros just an hour or so behind him, seeking revenge for their dead comrade. Hiding out in town, Carlos found the town's only cantina and hid out for a week. When he left the cantina he by chance ran into another small caravan that was passing through the ghost town and decided to sell some of the old booze he found in the bar to it.
As he sold the booze the caravaneers asked if he was the owner of the saloon, a question which Carlos answered with a 'Si' and decided that the name of the saloon could only be Carlos' Cantina. He implored the caravaneers to mention his cantina to others which they did. With hard work, Carlos set up a small trading post and eventually started buying and selling scrap from local scavengers. After months of work, several others decided to stay in Nuevo Progreso and thus it was in December of 2198 that Nuevo Progreso was refounded as a small trading post.
It was hard work for a long time, primarily because most caravaneers and travelers had no idea that the little border ghost town was now occupied. However, word slowly spread and Carlos Martinez was a man of ambition. He worked day and night to renovate his cantina and get the supplies needed to run it, he resorted to making his own moonshine to sell and briefly experimented in chemistry with the hope of being able to make drugs and chems to sell. It was the interest in chemistry that got him where he wanted to be; while he was a horrible chemist, he talked about it with travelers and this idle small talk made him good friends with a well-educated drifter by the name of Ray Skrabanek.A quiet man with a troubled past, Skrabanek was a chemist from Texas who had received his education in Falfurrias. Originally taught to make chemical cocktails for Brahmin, he altered the formulas for the medicines and steroids to be usable by people and experimented in making common wasteland chems like psycho and jet. He became quite skilled, but when his superiors found he was using the chemicals they provided him for making Brahmin drugs to make drugs for his own profit he was badly beaten and fired. In response he went back to the ranch he worked on with a pistol and proceeded to kill his teacher and two other men and steal as many chemicals as he could.
Barely outrunning the lynching party who lost interest in him after he hit Hidalgo, Skrabanek decided that this small little start-up town would be a good place for him to start over. He and Carlos made a business deal, he would make chems if Carlos would get the materials. In exchange, he would get a cut of the profits and protection should Falfurrias ever come knocking.
Within six months, Nuevo Progreso was churning out chemicals as Skrabanek proved able to repurpose most anything into drug production. Martinez worked out the deal with several caravans that they would bring the materials down and pay the partners to turn them into drugs from them to sell further south in Mexico or across the border. While they were in town, they would also patronize Carlos' Cantina.
Things went well for years. Drugs and drinks fueled the trading post as more people settled down to get in on the action. In 2210, 12 years after Martinez had set the shop up, Nuevo Progreso was a noted border outpost. Carlos Martinez died in 2213 from tuberculosis and left the cantina to his partner, Skrabanek who kept the name.
Skrabanek continued to make drugs and began selling to comancheros, offering them free beds in the cantina. This attracted them, and the money they spent in the barroom more than made up for the loss. Nuevo Progreso was a profitable venture, however, a lawless one with violence and sexual assault becoming a daily norm.
Tension and Conflict
However, this policy wasn't popular with all the people in the small town. Some folk had set up small shops and had plans to turn Nuevo Progreso into a cow-town geared around catering to drives. They agreed that gambling, drinking, prostitution, and drug use ought to remain legal but said it should be regulated in the name of public safety. They also advocated that comancheros and other raiders be banned from entering town and the carrying of weapons by outsiders be banned in town with residents only able to carry weapons if permitted by the police force they desired.
At this time there were two cantinas in town, Carlos' Cantina and the Doloroso Cantina owned by Juan Lluvia. Lluvia was the leader of the Public Safety Committee and appointed himself the Alguacil, or sheriff of Nuevo Progreso in March of 2215. He managed to sway most people in town to his cause and deputized fifty of the seventy people in Nuevo Progreso. He drilled his militia for a week and gave Skrabanek three days to comply with the new laws set forth or face legal consequences, specifically he ordered that Skrabanek, his guards, and all comancheros turn in their guns until they left town or were officially licensed to carry them by Lluvia.
Being one of the two men who made Nuevo Progreso what it was, Skrabanek laughed at such a proposal and sent a simple response "If you want our guns so badly, come and take them." The battle for the fate of Nuevo Progreso was on.
The Battle of Carlos' Cantina
As expected, the alguacil didn't take too kindly to being told that he could take his laws and go to hell, he naturally decided that he would take Skrabanek up on his offer and mobilized his fifty man police force in a battle for the heart and soul of Nuevo Progreso. Lluvia's vision was for a more peaceful cow-town where families could settle and where the need for the vice industry would gradually die out. Skrabanek wanted to stay true to Martinez's vision of a small town where anything went as long as the money was there, where the only law was the rifle and the knife.
On April 10th, 2215, Lluvia's militia marched on Carlos' Cantina with the intent to disarm the comancheros and evict them from town. Hearing of this, Skrabanek mobilized the party of comancheros in his bar and all those loyal to the vision of an open town. He had only twenty men compared to Lluvia's fifty, but fourteen of his men were battle-hardened comancheros while most of the sheriff's men were nothing more than townsfolk. Skrabanek positioned his rifleman on the roof and in the windows and as the militia approached he opened fire.
The result was a slaughter, Lluvia's impromptu fighting force was cut down to half its size in mere seconds as the comancheros, several of whom had automatic rifles in their possession, mowed down the advancing special deputies. Lluvia managed to rally his men for a second wave and had more success as they used homemade explosives to blow a hole in the cantina wall and breach it.
However close quarters fighting was more of a slaughter, simply put, the militia was no match for the comancheros at any distance and they were butchered with pistols and machetes in the bar. In only twenty minutes The Battle of Carlos' Cantina had been fought and won by Skrabanek, from then on Nuevo Progreso would be an open town.
The Open Town
Thus began the still on-going and bloody chapter of Nuevo Progreso's history which continues on to this day. Being that Skrabanek was the only supporter of the comancheros, the banditos proceeded to ransack the rest of the town, reducing Nuevo Progreso to Carlos' Cantina. Skrabanek had made a name for himself and his trading post, Nuevo Progreso was an open town with Comancheros free to come and go and seek refuge from any and all authorities.
The co-founder of the outpost would not enjoy his creation for long, only two months after the battle of Carlos' Cantina, Ray Skrabanek died after he developed advanced radiation sickness from some pre-War booze and overdosed on drugs to self-medicate himself. The cantina went from one hand to the next over this time period but stayed the same lawless outpost that Skrabanek had fought so hard to make it.As time passed, more people settled down to accommodate to the comancheros, becoming vice merchants around the cantina as well as selling supplies they would need. Among these newcomers were Santiago and Susan de la Rosa who initially came to sell scrap but in a stroke of luck obtained the cantina after Susan won the deed in a faro game in 2255. While Santiago continued life as a scavenger, Susan ran the cantina and gave birth to its most notable native in 2258, a young boy named Billy who would grow up to become the infamous pistolero 'Two-Gun' Billy de la Rosa.
Eventually, Billy would flee Nuevo Progreso due to a gunfight with a comanchero named Campo. However, Susan would remain until she sold the cantina in 2280 and moved north to Hidalgo where she became head of a larger gambling house in a safer community. Currently, the lawless outpost is maintained by a pair of brothers, Victor and Manuel Urbino who keep the bloody and lawless status quo as long as the money keeps pouring in.
The word 'Government' or the phrase 'Law and Order' is a joke in Nuevo Progreso and a concept that died in the Battle of Carlos' Cantina. Since the Battle of Carlos' Cantina, the people of Nuevo Progreso have chosen to live in anarchy and lawlessness, protecting themselves and their families and settling disputes on their own with a gun, knife, or broken bottle. The only law is the law of survival in Nuevo Progreso, the strong thrive and the weak barely survive if they survive at all. That being said, Nuevo Progreso, especially when the comancheros are in town, is a dangerous place, too much liquor combined with already rowdy and violent banditos results in constant murder, assault, rape, robbery, and deaths by stray celebratory bullets. It's hardly safe for a man or woman to walk the streets, with or without a weapon and very rarely does a besieged individual have anyone come to their aid when attacked. Although a vigilante execution is occasionally seen in the case of particularly awful crimes such as violence against children. For the most part criminals, thieves, murderers, and rapists can get away with anything in Nuevo Progreso as long as they don't mess with a more heavily armed man or woman, for then they would meet the fate of the weak.
Being pretty much one cantina with a few vendors, Nuevo Progreso's economy is rather small, despite this, a great amount of pesos and caps flow through the cantina, most of them at the gambling tables. The cantina mainly specializes in alcohol which it has a great variety of, however, it dabbles in chems and drugs and occasionally prostitution. The vendors around the cantina and in it sell scrap, guns, armor, and other goods that would be useful to comancheros. Being an open outpost that freely tolerates the worst of the worst, drifters of a more honest or less violent color tend to avoid it, meaning that things that would not be useful to someone intent on violently robbing and killing are seldom found in the cantina or among the traders due to the fact there is no demand.
Being a small town before the war, Nuevo Progreso is only smaller. The centerpiece of the town, what makes it, is Carlos' Cantina on Benito Juarez Avenue. Surrounding the cantina are a handful of homes where some traders and townsfolk live. Surrounding that are the ruins of old Nuevo Progreso which are in turn surrounded by the wastes.
Nuevo Progreso is located directly on the former border with Texas, separated by just the Rio Grande. In terms of proximity to other establishments it is roughly forty miles slightly southwest of Hidalgo and twenty miles east of La Ciudadela. It is around two hundred miles southeast of Laredo.