| “The written word, the law, the treaty, the pact is all a lie of the capitalist. For centuries, the capitalist promised reform, justice, fraternity, and equality with the verbal instruments. The end result of such channels of change is the ruins of the Old World, ruins shrouding the corpses of millions of the proletariat. This world shall not be the same, we shall not rely on the pen, on the treaty, nor upon the compromise. In this new world, we shall rise the Proletariat to their rightful place with our talisman, the rifle.”|
— Pancho Mendoza.
|Date of birth:||May 5, 2245|
|Status:||Leading La Legión de la Gente|
Born in poverty on the Texas-Mexico border, Pancho Mendoza has risen to be a man of fame and reputation far more than the class he was born into. In his life he has been a drover, a vagabond, a comanchero, a card house owner, and most recently the commander of the communist militia band, La Legión de la Gente. A young man for all he has done as well as a devilishly handsome charmer and rogue, Pancho Mendoza is one of the most devout Marxists in the wastes and among the most colorful characters that can be found on either side of the former pre-War border.
Francisco 'Pancho' Mendoza was born to Camilo and Dolores Mendoza on the fifth of May, 2245 on a cattle drive from Valle Hermoso, Mexico to Corpus Christi, Texas. His mother being the cook, he was born in the chuck wagon just before the drive crossed the Rio Grande. The night of his birth, there was a celebration held at the birth of a baby on a cattle drive was an unusually happy and joyous occasion, as was crossing the Rio Grande. The celebration would be a tragedy for the drive, but another victory for young Pancho's father when in a drunken celebration, a celebratory bullet from a drover's pistol hit the trail boss, killing him and leaving Camilo, the ramrod to lead the drive up to Corpus Christi.
Pancho lived the first seven months of his life in the chuck wagon as the drive took two months to reach Corpus Christi and then five months to return to Valle Hermoso, where his mother took two and a half years off to raise him while his father continued to work as a trail boss for the Valle Hermoso Cattleman's Association. When he was three years old, his mother rejoined the cattle drives with her husband and brought her son in the chuck wagon where he was raised on the trail for the next eleven years, learning to cook, treat minor wounds, speak both English and Spanish, play guitar, play cards, and shoot a handgun from his mother, his father, and the various hands that the drive picked up.
When he reached the age of fourteen in 2259, 'Pancho' as he was called by the vaqueros and cowboys on the drive was made a vaquero by his father who gifted him with a horse for his birthday. After several days of learning to ride and herd cattle from his saddle, he was ready to accompany his father and mother on a drive, a drive that would turn tragedy.
This drive was one of several in 2259 that was stopped by the Falfurrias Brahmin Rancher's Association. Worried that the Texas Longhorns sold by ranchers near Valle Hermoso would drive down the price of brahmin at the market, the brahmin ranchers hired several scores of mercenaries from Corpus Christi and comancheros from the border to waylay cattle drives. The drive that Pancho was on being one such drive, only three days after they crossed the Rio Grande their drive was ambushed by comancheros who used dynamite to stampede the cattle and then used rifles to pick off as many vaqueros as they could.
Pancho personally saw his father killed by rifle fire and panicked, he fled and rode into the countryside until he hit Mercedes where he sold his horse and stayed for several days. Worried that he might be pursued by comancheros, Pancho decided to lay low in Mercedes until he was fifteen and he hit the road, not knowing where he was going.
Young AdulthoodAfter leaving Mercedes, Pancho became a vagabond as the young man set out scavenging with nothing more than a canteen, enough food to last a week, and a.30-30 lever-action deer rifle. He scavenged through ruins and sold scrap to vendors in Mercedes and merchants he met on the road. After a month or two of scavenging on both sides of the border, he met an older man by the name of Frank Turner. A former gunman involved in the San Fernando Range War and a longtime scavenger, Turner took Pancho under his wing and helped teach the young man to survive, viewing Pancho as a kind of son. The two made a good duo and traveled for close to two years, selling scrap to merchants all around and hunting coyotes that harassed brahmin and cattle ranches on both sides of the border.
This lasted until three days after Pancho's seventeenth birthday when the two men were salvaging the ruins of an old gas station near Laredo they ran afoul of a gang of a dozen comancheros led by Billy Juarez, a low-level comanchero jefe who opened fire on the two men. Pancho's surrogate father managed to down two of the comancheros with his semi-automatic AR-15 before being blasted by Billy Juarez's shotgun. Believing the station to be clear, the comancheros entered and found Pancho with his .30-30. Surrounded by nine comancheros the young man still held his rifle to Juarez's head and threatened to kill him. Impressed by this display of courage from such a young man and not wanting a hollow point round in his skull, Billy Juarez offered to let Pancho join the gang, giving Pancho food, water, liquor, women, and excitement. Bereaved over the loss of Frank Turner but not wanting to die, Pancho took the offer and became a comanchero raider.
Life as a comanchero proved interesting for Pancho, while he hated Billy Juarez for killing Frank Turner, he also learned from him. Pancho improved his marksmanship and learned better how to fight with a gun, knife, and his fists. He rode with the Juarez Gang for close to five years, robbing and looting caravans and travelers. When he was twenty-one things began to change when, after attacking a Texican Caravan Company caravan, the entire Juarez Gang had a bounty put on their heads. Bounty hunters followed and pursued the gang of thieves across the Corpse Coast for a year, ruining their pickings by showing up just before they would waylay caravans and forcing them to flee. Eventually, they were driven down into Mexico, where Billy led his gang to an old hideout of his, Cresta Confederada. There, nestled in the red rock hills the gang decided to make their stand against the bounty killers. While the comancheros outnumbered their pursuers, the men were members of the infamous and the renowned Rockport Mercenary Guild, a long established group of guns for hire from Rockport, Texas who had been in addition to other things, killing and capturing criminals since 2213.
When the fight did come, it was an ambush orchestrated by Billy Juarez, who hid his men in crevices and caves that overlooked a trail leading to the actual flat plateau, the riflemen picked off two of the bounty men before they found themselves under fire from automatic weapons. The ensuing battle lasted three minutes and Pancho didn't even fire a single shot, instead, he chose to hide and let the four bounty hunters and the ten comancheros fight it out, which they did. Pancho personally saw the bounty hunters decapitate Billy Juarez and take his head back as proof of the kill. Alone again, Pancho looted what he could from the bodies and set back out walking, in his time as a comanchero he had shot four men and robbed dozens. He realized the damage he had brought upon the people that his gang had waylaid and felt profound guilt, determined to change his ways he decided to become a Marxist and work to better the cause of the poor and downtrodden, with this in mind, he decided to start his work at one of the border's biggest hubs of vice and sin, the comanchero city of Hidalgo.
Time in Hidalgo
His first day in Hidalgo was rough, he saw murder, raping, theft, and was almost the victim of a robbery whose would-be perpetrators he scared off by his .30-30 rifle. At the time he arrived, in 2267 Hidalgo had long been known as a city of comancheros, run by the "Comanchero King", Benedicto Aguado who had run the town for about three decades as a corrupt junta. There was no law in Hidalgo save for the Darwinian law of survival of the fittest. The only way to survive was to scavenge or use a gun.
Looking for money to survive and to "make a difference" as he commonly put it, Pancho joined a street gang known as the Thompson Boys, led by former lawman, Alfred Thompson. Little more than street mercenaries, the Thompson Boys provided security arrangements to establishments in exchange for free booze, women, drugs, and beds along with a little gambling money.
The establishments protected by the Thompson Boys proved to be some of the most orderly in Hidalgo, and thus, the Thompson Boys made considerable amounts of money and Pancho made a considerably large cut. After a year of saving his money from policing bars, he decided that maybe in order to do greater good, he would have to dabble in the capitalist spirit that he despised. He decided to leave the Thompson Boys with two other friends from the boys, Willie Black, and Fernando Blanco. Using an old and abandoned pre-war diner, the three men opened the Yellow Rose, a card house.The Yellow Rose was an average card-house in terms of revenue, which out of respect for their old friends was protected by the Thompson Boys. However, it was rather an average in many other respects. Apart from being one of the few card houses in town not to run crooked tables, the upstairs of the Yellow Rose was devoted to Pancho's Roman Catholic Marxist views and was a free boarding house for the poor. Any beggar was allowed to stay in the upstairs of the cardhouse for one week at a time and would be provided free food, a free bed, and free water in addition to medicine if required. This charitable work was Pancho's way of "making a difference" in Hidalgo and provided him with popularity and would within a year provide him with loyalty when he would meet soon to be the legendary lawman, Harland Ross.
However, Mendoza's charity came with a cost, almost a quarter of the cardhouse's profits went to this charity, causing a great disagreement between him and his two partners, Black and Blanco. While they were all three partners, they became angry that Pancho was taking money for his charitable work before the money was divided for everyone's cut. The two men gave Mendoza a week to stop his charity or pay for it with his cut, which he was unable to do and refused. Tensions grew for months and there were common verbal arguments and shouting matches for months until in March of 2269 when the three owners of the Yellow Rose settled their disputes.
As a drifter who always wore a gun and a former Thompson Boy, Mendoza had a reputation as a dangerous man. However, on March 17th, 2269, Pancho Mendoza gained a reputation as a gunfighter like Wild Bill or Johnny Ringo from the Old American West. After months of argument, Black and Blanco decided to do something about the budget killing charity of Mendoza. The two men called Mendoza down to the main floor of the cardhouse by yelling his name and insulting slurs at him. When Pancho walked out of his room, he looked down and saw Willie Black holding a double-barreled shotgun and Fernando Blanco openly wearing a 10mm pistol in a cross-draw configuration. Mendoza walked down the stairs and confronted the two men while he wore his top-break revolver in a gun belt he had acquired in his comanchero days.
The three men had an explicit and a loud argument with Black and Blanco demanding that Mendoza leaves town, realizing that his two partners posed a risk to him and would kill him if he refused to leave Hidalgo, he did the only thing logical, draw his gun. Mendoza first shot Black in the chest, knocking him to the ground, he then quickly aimed his revolver at Blanco, who had to reach across his waist and unsnap the hammer thong on his gun before he could draw it. Shooting Blanco in the collar bone before he could even draw his gun killed him instantly, Pancho then looked back at Black who had drawn a 9mm Dama revolver, a prewar pocket pistol and was struggling to aim the gun. Black shot once and nipped Pancho's right shoulder, however Pancho fired his revolver again and shot Black through the heart, killing him.
The shootout lasted all of four seconds and was talking about all around Hidalgo, even by Benedicto Aguado who was said to have been impressed by Mendoza's quick thinking and even quicker draw. With his partners dead, Pancho assumed full control of the Yellow Rose cardhouse and increased his charitable work for months until his communist fantasies culminated when he met another drifter, Harland Ross.Harland Ross was a young drifter, just a year older than Pancho when he drifted into Hidalgo. He had worked odd jobs for the last eight years of his life and had lost his would-be wife in a comanchero raid while he was away trying to earn the money to buy a home for the two of them. His would be wife, however, wasn't killed, instead captured and made a sex-slave in the Dynasty Saloon, owned by Comanchero King Benedicto Aguado's kid brother, Emilio. Realizing it was impossible to get his love, one Carmen Huerta out of the Dynasty he decided he needed to overthrow the most powerful gang of comancheros in history which was more akin to a small army. Ross realized he would need help to do such a task and thus went to Pancho who he had heard was a man of the people, a gunfighter, and a man of wealth who could finance such an army.
Pancho was intrigued by Harland and the two became friends very quickly. When Harland proposed overthrowing Aguado, Pancho laughed before realizing that he was serious. Pancho pondered the idea for several minutes and then came to his answer, yes. In September of 2269 in the cellar of the Yellow Rose, Harland Ross, Pancho Mendoza, and five others founded La Legión de la Gente, the People's Legion, dedicated to freeing Hidalgo from the reign of the comancheros, named by none other than Pancho himself.
The legion built up strength for two months as Pancho financed the endeavor, buying guns, explosives, munitions, and medicine while Harland handled recruiting and training. On November 6th, 2269 Harland Ross and Pancho Mendoza changed the landscape of the former border forever when they lead the legion in the Second Battle of Hidalgo.
It was on Benedicto Aguado's birthday celebration that the attack was launched, Aguado and his comancheros were celebrating inside the confines of the old hospital when the legion took back their town. Comprised of the poor and oppressed and the few honest merchants in town, they dismantled the red-light districts. Pancho led half the legion to raze comanchero casinos, saloons, and brothels while Harland began the attack on the hospital. After hours of fighting with few casualties, Pancho's force regrouped with Harland's and the two swarmed the inner walls of the hospital. The ensuing battle was a close range melee and shotgun fracas, a savage battle with over two hundred killed until at the end of the battle Harland Ross shot Benedicto Aguado in a fair duel, like gunslingers of old, freeing Hidalgo from over three decades of a comanchero regime.
La Legión de la Gente
With the King of the Comanchers shot down by Ross and the comancheros ran out of Hidalgo on a rail, most of the legionnaires quit and began to repair the town they had fought so hard for. However, Mendoza found that he was respected as a leader and realized that if he wanted to achieve his goal of spreading Marxism that he would need the legion. He managed to convince thirty of the two hundred men and women to stay with him and work to establish a communist utopia based on the principles of Marxism on the border. With thirty men and women brandishing rifles, Mendoza walked into the office of the new sheriff, his good friend Harland Ross who had taken control of Hidalgo's rebuilding. Pancho pleaded with Harland for hours, trying to convince the sheriff to merge his deputies with the legion and install Pancho as the communist dictator of Hidalgo. Ross flat out refused and thus, Pancho and his legion went packing into the countryside for months.Pancho led the legion across the countryside, up and down the Corpse Coast and through Tamaulipas to small towns like Rose Rock, Thompson's Crossing, Casa Roja, and Pocas Plantas. In these hamlets, he would preach communism and flirt with some attractive young women he saw. He offered grandiose promises of equality, prosperity, and peace to any man or woman who would join the legion. Soon his thirty-man platoon was a small company of one hundred and eighty men and women, young, old, and in-between with all of them dedicated to a communist revolution. They scavenged for food or relied off of donations as they marched looking for a place to set up a communist utopia, and during the night, Pancho became acquainted with an addictive vice, the young women of his legion who were more than willing to sleep with him and he was more than happy to oblige. However, his strong held Roman Catholic faith tormented him as he didn't marry any of them, rather he sent them out of his tent and found a new one, occasionally calling a woman back if he liked one. He felt deep guilt over his addiction to the bodies of the young women in his legion, mainly a Texan girl named Ashley Goddard, who he slept with at least five times a week, however, he could not bring himself to marry her due to his desire to "sample" as he put it, more young women. He loved Ashley however, and she loved him, but she refused marriage unless Pancho would cease his sleeping around, Pancho found himself unable to and while she remained in the legion as an officer, the two ceased communication for some time, diverting their eyes from each other whenever they passed the other.
However, while Pancho managed to find his army quickly, it wasn't until September of 2270, a full year since the founding of the legion that he found his target, La Ciudadela. A lavish pre-war bunker that was more like Versailles than a vault with a shanty town built around it was Pancho's idea of a perfect breeding ground for a revolution. Inside The Citadel was 200 nobles while outside lived 900 paisanos. The nobles lived lives of luxury that most of the wealth in the Old World couldn't have afforded while the paisanos had practically no rights and lived poorer than dirt. Pancho moved his army to Cresta Confederada, the old hiding place of Billy Juarez and then sent a messenger to Rey Cristobol's court bearing a declaration of war on October 1st, 2270. La Guerra de la Ciudadela or The Citadel War had begun.
With only one hundred and eighty partisans fighting close to two hundred and fifty professional soldiers, Pancho's only advantage was the dedication of his army. He decided to attack La Ciudadela economically by ravaging La Ciudadela's biggest revenue source, caravans. The government made their money off of taxes from the nobles and the nobles made their money from return investments in caravans. Pancho decided that by using the legion as brigands he could ravage the caravans and bleed Rey Cristobol's tax revenues dry, leading to a weakening of his army and a window for the legion to invade the small kingdom.Casa Roja and the Rio Grande and raided any caravan that they suspected of being involved with La Ciudadela's nobility. He rarely participated in these attacks, staying at Cresta Confederada to command his troops over the radio and plan out raids on Casa Roja. In his stead, Hector Medina, a farmer from Pocas Plantas became one of his top lieutenants. With him from the start, Medina was a natural at guerilla warfare, who brought in the caravan after caravan and led his forces to victory for Mendoza in 2278 at the battle of Pocas Plantas. Life proved hard for Pancho during this time, his legion grew recruits every spring, but every winter, many did not return to Cresta Confederada and went their way. The war went on this way for years and the legion became almost a joke due to how little impact they had made on La Ciudadela until in December of 2277 it was announced that Rey Cristobol was forced to take loans from the Valle Hermoso Cattleman's Association and the San Fernando Cattleman's Association to maintain his army, the first loan ever taken by a Rey.
This news encouraged Pancho, however, his victory in war was nothing compared to the victory he had in love when he and Ashley Goddard resumed talking to each other after several years. Realizing the young woman to be his most loyal follower and one of his most skilled, he promised to cease his "sampling" and marry her. The marriage was held on February 3rd, 2278 while the spring offensive was being prepared. However the marriage was short lived as when the offensive began Ashley Mendoza lead several raids and in her absence Pancho was unable to resist his lust and slept with two other women who had no problem spreading the rumor around camp. When Mrs. Mendoza returned, she was furious, enraged she left the legion and went her own way to fight Rey Cristobol and within months there were stories of a lone female sniper who preyed upon any friends of the Rey but behaved in a manner different from that of a legionnaire.
Pancho was crushed by Ashley's departure and naturally blamed himself with her gone, Medina became his right-hand man. But it was for several months he contemplated suicide, however, the hole in his life was filled with more planning of his war and more women which he always regretted. However, soon his war would escalate. In late 2280, Pancho realized that his war had gone on eleven years and he was losing more and more each winter and gaining fewer and fewer each spring. He decided to launch a winter offensive and heat up attacks, even raiding Casa Roja. He planned to attack La Ciudadela and incite a Paisano rebellion. He did this with help from newfound friend, Juan Pepe, who was the leader of a similar band of communist guerillas, Los Hermanos de Sangre who joined the legion as an auxiliary unit in early 2281.It was in May that after months of intense raids and close to eleven years of fighting that the offensive began. Pancho personally led half of his legion to position themselves near La Ciudadela while at the same time Juan Pepe led his hermanos and the other half of the legion to attack Casa Roja. When the Battle of Casa Roja was won with surprise, determination, and the firepower of the hermanos, it was looted and abandoned. When news reached Rey Cristobol the next day over the radio, he sent one hundred men with great haste to reclaim the outpost he believed to be occupied. The next day on May the third Pancho's men sprung from the countryside and razed all the corn and wheat fields outside of La Ciudadela. For three days Pancho waited and waited for food riots that never came, then fearing that the Guardia del Rey or the force sent to Casa Raja would return, he ordered his men north while at the same time Rey Cristobol's superior force headed south back to La Ciudadela. However, there was no battle as the two literally went past each other without seeing each other due to Rey's men being on the ruins of the highway and Pancho's force moving through the countryside.
"The Ride Around Cristobol" as it would soon be called ended after Pancho Mendoza not only evaded Rey's army, but then retook Casa Roja, slaughtering the small force left behind and radioing Juan Pepe to bring his troops back to Casa Roja and establishing the villa as his command post. Since The Ride Around Cristobol Pancho has maintained his base of operations as Casa Roja as he prepares to launch his final assault on La Ciudadela, hoping to make the battle before 2282 and the winter when he has historically lost troops. As of October he is at the peak of his power and close to either bringing La Ciudadela down or being brought down himself and remembered as nothing more than a politically motivated brigand. To him, there is a great sense of urgency in planning his final attack on La Ciudadela which he is currently doing with all his senior officers.
Pancho Mendoza is a man of principle and strong-held beliefs. A third of his life has been devoted to Marxism and revolution and most his entire life devoted to The Lord in the form of the Roman Catholic faith which he strongly adheres to. Waging a small-scale brushfire war for eleven years has reinforced him as a determined man with refusal to give up no matter what the odds if a greater good is attainable. However, his personality traits have dated back to his upbringing where he learned the traits of hard work on cattle drives, communication with said drives and while working as a drover and a comanchero, and leadership which he learned when he headed a cardhouse and the legion.
He has a strong sense of justice, growing up poor, scavenging, and then working as a comanchero and seeing the damage he brought to the "little man" he is strongly associated with the poor and cannot stand to see the downtrodden bullied, pushed around, hurt, or made a victim of any crime. It is because of this association with the poor that he holds such strong Marxist principles and has blended those principles with his Christian faith, emphasizing the charity and aid for the poor preached by Jesus as the job of a strong communist government to carry out. This is his only great disagreement with classical communism as instead of a strong atheist state like Soviet Russia or Maoist China, Mendoza has no problem with something higher than the state in his communist utopia as long as it is a religion, his communism is a semi-theocratic communist state in which charity and equality are seen as a right endowed by God and the duty of a communist state to enforce.
However, Mendoza is not free of vices, while his demons are mostly behind him, he still has no problem killing for his communist utopia. In addition, he maintains a minor gambling addiction and a healthy need for the alleviation of primal male urges which he greatly chastised himself for. On many occasions he has been noted to request that female legion recruits be brought to his tent or room to be 'sampled' by him for the night, something which, while the women normally agree to due to the fact that he is a hero of most all in the legion, he always regrets and has tried to stop, promising after each time that he will never do it again and then praying for forgiveness after he breaks his promise and promising again. This fact is known to the government of La Ciudadela and Rey Cristobol thanks to spies who have tried to use it to smear Mendoza's image across the wastes by spreading propaganda rumors that his goal is to establish a dictatorship and use his army to gather for him a harem of all young women, smear attacks which have had little effect on his image as a selfless and just Catholic Robin Hood and a champion of the poor, downtrodden, and abused.
The iconic photograph of Pancho Mendoza when he formed the People's Legion in 2269 is mostly accurate to the present day. His face has aged very little since 2269 though he has lost some hair and now wears his sombrero, the same one seen in the photo of him is now worn low instead of up. He always wears a black necktie, a sombrero, heeled vaquero boots with pointed toes, a black suit coat, a gun belt, a shoulder holster for his.30-30 revolver, and normally a bandolier of ammunition for a rifle above his gunbelt.
Pancho Mendoza is a tall man, made taller with the three-inch heels on his boots. He is also rather skinny and slender, giving a tall, thin, and lean impression. His balding hair is a dark black and being of Hispanic origin and growing up under the hot Mexican sun, his skin a tannish brown. His build is somewhat muscular, though he doesn't seem it. He additionally maintains the same mustache he is seen within the iconic photo of him, a mustache he has had since he rode with Billy Juarez. Unlike his enemy in war, Rey Cristobol he is a modest dresser and modest in appearance, he doesn't seem like a general and actually looks rather much like a common man, an image he goes for due to his reputation as a man of the people.
EquipmentBeing the leader of a communist militia, Pancho has little need to travel with equipment that a common scavenger would need as his welfare is provided for by his legionnaires. Instead, the only real equipment he carries on his person are his weapons of which he has several. The old top-break revolver that he is seen wearing in the most famous photograph of him is always worn over his thigh on a leather gunbelt that holds two dozen hollow point .44 rounds. In his right boot, he keeps a Dama revolver, which holds five 9mm rounds. In a shoulder holster under his jacket, he always keeps a .30-30 Caballero revolver with a sawed off barrel to make it a snub nose. Aside from revolvers he keeps a canteen filled with tequila in his left boot and a four-inch pocketknife in his left pants pocket.