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Saturday 16 September 2023

Yuma Proving Ground - Game 2 - Background

Zone Alfa Game 2

I was in the Easy Does It Roadhouse and wondering how I was going to get out of the place without being eaten alive when Andy Donovan strode into the joint with Police Woman Petra Stanislav. He looked at Stanislav and she nodded in my direction and they both ambled over. Donovan looked at me and then addressed the immaculate woman across the table, saying “I know who this is but might I have the pleasure of knowing who you are and why you are sat opposite a Vagabond”.

 Katie Monk smiled her hard but winning smile and said “I work for the Global Tribune, I met Mr Black and some of his associates back in 18, they helped me on a job, and my name’s Ms Monk, but you can call me Katie”.
“I’m down here on a story but Mr Black isn’t being very helpful, he keeps talking about a confidentiality agreement he signed with Homeland Security and he seems to think they are scarier than I am”, she smiled again. Captain Andy Donovan smiled right back at her, “Well Katie that’s why I’m here as well, Homeland Security are not the most communicative of organisations and I was expecting to get a little help from Vincent as to what he’s been involved in recently. I tried to look small and insignificant, which is difficult for a 6’2” Biker who would like to be a Hell’s Angel’s. “Look” I stammered and played my trump card, the 2 of clubs, “go and talk to Silas, if anyone knows what is going on in the desert, it’s Silas”.

Silas, on the left and his brother Bull.

They live closer to the Yuma Proving Ground than anyone else and they refused to move when the Army came to enforce the Exclusion Zone. The small patrol of a corporal and a couple of men backed off when Silas waved his shotgun around in their general direction and they moved on to more amenable homesteaders.

When you live off grid, sometimes you fall through the cracks and the Army had lost track of the fact that two old men were still out there and hadn’t gone back to ensure they moved out.

“And where might I find this Silas” Captain Andy Donovan enquired of me. “I know Sir” chipped in Stanislav, I think she might have taken a shine to big Andy “he’s only a couple of hours from the wire, it’s a bit of a walk but I can take you there”.

Donovan as you may remember is Senator McGivvens chosen Law Enforcement Officer and heads up the recently inaugurated Special Operating Detection & Investigation Team in charge of security in the outer zone.

He might be in charge of S.O.D.I.T. but was getting very little cooperation and even less information from Homeland Security and felt he needed to know what was going on in the Zone he was guarding.

He’d brought a small but hand picked cadre of men with him and he’s taken them, along with some of the local law enforcement team on a Recon mission to find Silas. His aim is to circumnavigate Homeland Security and get into the zone himself to take a look and assess the situation first hand.

He’s explaining to James Lamont and Diaz that they need to protect his back door. “I don’t have much faith in this bunch of clowns who call themselves Law Officers, we’re going into a dangerous situation and I want a couple of reliable men out here for when we return.

This is the bunch of clowns he’s referring to, they’re members of the police force in a small town and not used to this sort of emergency. As it turns out, no one is!

Behind them is a watchtower and Aguila is instructing Walter and Norman to man the tower. She is afraid of heights otherwise she would have taken this prestigious position. As it is she decides that Big Jim Floyd should remain on the ground. An unkind person might wonder if that is so Jim can provide some protection for her, should it be needed.

The outer fence around the new exclusion zone had been erected very quickly and consisted of a double ring of wire and a beaten zone between them. There are no gates near where Donovan is going in and he doesn’t want to cut the wire for obvious reasons.

This is just a gratuitous shot to show the watch tower.

This is the team he’s taking in with him, Willhelm Schmidtt and Hans Ludenstein are the other part of his hand picked body of men. Both armed with pump action shotguns, B.A. Pistols and a truncheon. In addition they have a medikit each, something they would be grateful for.

Petra you’ve met, she has a pistol and truncheon, also a pair of handcuffs for those dark lonely nights, in spite of her youth she’s a good cop, best in her year and a crack shot as well.

If you’ve got this far you may pause and wonder what a news crew is doing at this place, at this time, and you’d be right to wonder at that.

It is, as usual, a long story, Katie Monk with her back to us but her face to the camera knew stuff…..stuff she’d not been allowed to print in the newspaper and she’d a score to settle. So in return for a solemn promise from the Law, she told Captain Donovan stuff……stuff that if some other Lawmen found out she’d passed on, she would find out just how scary Homeland Security could be. In return for this information Donovan had decided he’d better keep her close.

He’s explaining about rules of engagement to Big Freddie who is Katie’s bodyguard and private security. “You don’t shoot anybody or indeed anything unless I give you a direct order, have you got that” Freddie looks bored and nods, he knows that if he was to count the bodies he’d shot, it would need a few more fingers and toes than he currently had. That’s without the “things,” that would need a few more fingers and toes.

Donovan didn’t think he needed to give the same lecture to Katie Monk but he was wrong, although she would have taken no more notice than Freddie did.

In the background or I suppose it’s really the foreground Donald shoots footage of the exchange. He’s under strict instructions that everything will be censored by Donovan. Donald will only take his instructions from Katie so isn’t worried by the censorship.

In the background the men and women who do the hard lifting are lifting the pair of ladders into place so that they can cross the first fence.

Donovan recognises that Freddie is probably the most experienced man on the expedition, and he’s not part of Donovan’s team either, which makes him more expendable than the others. So he puts Freddie on point, flanked by Hans and Schmidtt.

Freddie knows the score and also knows his own capability so isn’t worried by this.

Donald Tronji gets a last shot of the crew heading off into the desert. He’s already got the film layout planned, I counted them out and I counted them in. I know it’s been done before he thinks, but that was a long time ago, no one will remember that…..surely.

As they head towards their destination the three at the back seem to be bunched up more than is tactically wise but some times the women gravitate towards a handsome man, although Andy isn’t a handsome man, he is big and that might just suffice.


  1. Great start to the next adventure John, shame there's no Vagabonds involved, but then I am biased on that ! LOL

    1. Thanks Dave, I've fallen behind on AAR's, there's Vagabonds in the game after this. :)

  2. And here we go again on what I'm anticipating to be another roller-coaster of a ride, though I suspect the cops may be rather better than the Vagabonds (not the real ones of course, who look slightly more effecient than your fictional ones).

    1. I'm on a bit of a roll with games at the moment, makes a nice change. Roller coaster ride is how it went down.

  3. Having found or been guided to your site I enjoyed your latest post enough to go back and read your earlier tales.
    I'm intrigued that in your Western town the gunsmiths is called "R. Tilney and Sons" and wondered why. There is such a shop in Norfolk and as a boy I went to school with Robert Tilney [junior]. He is also now the firearms expert on "The Antiques Roadshow". Is there a link or just a coincidence?

    1. Hi Stephen, sorry for the delay replying, I've been down in Suffolk on holiday, maybe not too far from you. I'm pleased you are having a bit of an explore on the blog, there's not too much going on here lately.
      Rob Tilney is just a coincidence, I was scouting round the internet looking for western signs and he must have come from there. Does your Robert Tilney look anything like my Rob Tilney, I hope for his sake there's no resemblance. ;